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Microsoft Tool Blocks Unwanted OS Download

As Microsoft deploys a new version of its Edge browser running on the Chromium engine, a toolkit is available that blocks automated downloads on Windows 10

According to Carl Fransen with CTECH Consulting Group, a Calgary-based Microsoft Partner, Microsoft has released a new tool that will block the automatic download of the company's new Chromium Edge web browser.

What Is Microsoft Edge?

Microsoft Edge is a new web browser that is available as of mid-January 2020. It is available automatically via Windows Update on PCs running Windows 10 1709 or newer versions. It runs on the Chromium web browser engine, meaning it uses the rendering engine used by Google Chrome, with Microsoft enhancements.

Chromium Edge was first released to the public in April 2019. It includes versions for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and macOS, the first time in 13 years Microsoft released a browser compatible with Apple's OS.

Microsoft intends to build subsequent versions of Edge that work seamlessly with the Windows OS. The newest version will automatically migrate menu pins, shortcuts and tiles from legacy versions.

How Can We Block Chromium Edge Downloads?

Microsoft has released the Blocker Toolkit. It allows computers to stick with the original Edge, which is built with Microsoft's own rendering and JavaScript engines. That version of the Edge web browser has been bundled with Windows 10 since its release in 2015.

The toolkit includes tools such as a small executable file allowing for local Edge runs. It also includes administrative functions that can block the original Edge from managed machine groups.

Microsoft has been down this road before. issuing similar toolkits with various versions of its Internet Explorer browser. Starting in 2011, the company automatically upgraded the IE version to that which was most appropriate for the user's Windows version, when it had previously asked for user permission before upgrading the browser version.

The approach is similar to the Chromium Edge rollout. By default, it will automatically push the browser to its customers, beginning January 15, 2020. While Microsoft will honor the default browser setting on each PC, it will still download Chromium Edge and install it on the machine, even if there is a rival browser set as the default.

Why would some organizations choose not to use the Chromium Edge version? Consider:

  1. Network environment policies require compliance with a different browser
  2. You prefer another web browser
  3. You prefer the legacy version of Edge

Here's what users need to know about using the Blocker Toolkit:

  1. After downloading and extracting the toolkit, use a Command Prompt to navigate to the toolkit's folder
  2. Enter the following to stop Windows Update from automatically installing the Chromium Edge version: EdgeChromium_Blocker.cmd /b
  3. The toolkit works only on PCs using Windows 10 1803 or newer
  4. You can still download and install Chromium Edge manually after the toolkit blocker is deployed

For system administrators and independent PC owners alike, the toolkit is a useful and easy way to protect your operating system from unwanted updates.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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