Pencil 15 Jan 2020 in your diary: That's when Microsoft hopes you'll be at the cutting Edge... Chromium style

Day after termination of Windows 7 support. Plus: First Release Candidate arrives

Ignite Less than a year after it emerged that EdgeHTML was for the chop, Microsoft has delivered a Release Candidate of its shiny new Chromium-based browser.

It is, of course, still called Edge, but features an icon the Windows giant hopes will open up clear blue water between its new baby and the old days of Internet Explorer. The original Edge, of course, rarely troubled the browser usage tables, even at its peak.

The Release Candidate (for Windows and macOS) coincided with Microsoft's Florida Ignite shindig and arrived days after the software behemoth had challenged the faithful to a series of puzzles leading to the unveiling of the still-looks-a-bit-like-an-e logo.

Of course, this is just a Release Candidate based on Edge 79 and there are likely to be more fixes before things are locked down ahead of an official 15 January 2020 release to the public. The current version number of the Canary build at time of writing is 80.0.320.0.

The expected general availability date comes the day after Microsoft plans to pull support for its venerable Windows 7 operating system for all except those able to jump to Azure or pony up the cash for an extension.

However, Microsoft is targeting the enterprise with the expansion of the FastTrack deployment programme to get the thing sprayed over corporate desktops. App Assure is also being extended from its current toil of getting those pesky Windows 7 holdouts onto Windows 10 to guaranteeing that if a site works in IE11, Chrome or old Edge, it will work in new Edge too.

Strong words, although new Edge does have a joker to play in the form of IE mode, which admins have had in beta for a while now. A spokesperson told The Register: "For an enterprise with an IE-based intranet, they will be using new Microsoft Edge with IE Mode to bring forward legacy sites and apps within the same new Microsoft Edge browser window."

And as for those custom toolbars so beloved of some IE users? The spokesperson said Microsoft had not encountered an enterprise user asking for them "to date". And, of course, App Assure remains the fallback if all else fails.

While some are becoming ever more concerned by the creepier antics of another notable Chromium-based giant, Microsoft was also at pains to tell us that the Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer could be used by the curious to see exactly what Edge was sending back to the mother ship. The spokesperson added: "All telemetry and all services can be disabled by the user or the enterprise."

For the vast majority of users, installing the stable version of new Edge will hide its unloved predecessor, transferring its settings, but leave granddaddy IE lurking around. It will be possible to access old Edge, if a user really needs to, via the Side by Side browser experience. ®

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