Microsoft Edge and Managing Favorites

Microsoft Edge and Managing Favorites

To say that Microsoft’s much touted new browser for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge, has been a disappointment would be an understatement.

It is a case of Microsoft over promising and then under delivering. In this situation it is the current lack of extension support and the ability to manage favorites easily that is frustrating users and keeping them from fully adopting the new browser in Windows 10. In fact, as Rod has written, many are choosing to go with Chrome it seems while they wait for these options to arrive.

Microsoft had initially committed to providing at least extension support by last fall but missed that deadline and it now appears extensions will be supported in a Redstone update to the operating system and browser which is expected this fall.

The capability to manage favorites is one that is considered a normal function of a web browser but when Microsoft Edge was released this basic functionality was missing. Now, to Microsoft’s credit, Edge is a brand new browser which has been built from scratch and so it is a work in progress. Windows 10 also comes with Internet Explorer 11 installed as part of the operating system to there is no need to have to use Microsoft Edge beyond testing it out with your normal collection of websites.

However, Microsoft Edge has already been shown to be so much faster than IE and other browsers because it has been re-worked and optimized from the ground up so users want the benefit of that built in speed.

There is also the Windows 10 Experience Variable in play when it comes to Microsoft Edge with its reliability and related crashes. For example, my fellow contributor here at SuperSite Rod Trent experiences multiple crashes with Microsoft Edge each day while I have been relatively error/crash free on my side. Both of us have opted to use Edge as our default browser on Windows 10.

Now I can not address the reliability and lack of extension support at this point because that must come from the Microsoft Edge team. I was able to sit in on a couple of Edge related sessions last fall during the annual Microsoft MVP Summit and I can tell you those folks are passionate about providing a solid browser. I have no doubt based on my discussions with them that they are working hard to do just that and I believe that will translate into what we see very soon.

One area of concern, the lack of management tools for Favorites in Microsoft Edge, is an area I have done some testing and troubleshooting in recently and I think I have at least gotten them synching cleanly between Windows 10 devices but there is some initial work necessary to arrive at that point.

Make sure you have Sync turned on for your Microsoft Edge content by opening Edge, clicking the ellipsis menu on the far right of the browser window, clicking Settings and turning on Sync.

Sync On Microsoft Edge

Once you upgrade to Windows 10 from a previous version of Windows all of those favorites that were in IE will be imported into Microsoft Edge. 

The result looks something like this (thanks to Rod Trent for the image):

Microsoft Edge Favorites

As you can see there are duplicate folders and entries and Rod said he has to reset this almost daily on Microsoft Edge to make it manageable.

So the next step will be to remove all of these favorites from Microsoft Edge so make sure there are copies of them in Internet Explorer if they are important. They should be there since that is where they were imported from initially. If they are non-critical or can be recreated then head to the next step.

There are two options for removing current entries in the Microsoft Edge Favorites listing.

You can do this manually one at a time in Edge by right clicking an entry and selecting Delete repeating for each favorite.

Microsoft Edge Delete Favorites

To remove all of them at one time you will need to use File Explorer and browse to this folder:

%LocalAppData%\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_8wekyb3d8bbwe\AC\MicrosoftEdge\User\Default\DataStore\Data\nouser1\120712-0049\DBStore\

This can be easily done by opening File Explorer and pasting the above string into the window’s address bar. You should end up in this folder and see some variation of this view:

Microsoft Edge Database Directory

In this directory you will see a file named spartan.edb (remember Project Spartan?) and that is where all of your Microsoft Edge Favorites are stored – in a database as opposed to an HTML file like they are for Internet Explorer.

Since this file is not editable in Windows the only option is to delete it to remove all of the current favorites in Microsoft Edge. Make sure Microsoft Edge is closed so there is no file in use error and go ahead and delete it. Of course, you can also save a copy of this elsewhere on your system if you want the option to restore the favorites as they were before you started over.

If you now open up Edge you will see the list of favorites is empty. It is possible they will repopulate with some of the same favorites that were previously in the list but I just repeated the deletion process, I used the manual method each time, and eventually the list remained empty. I am not sure where that list keeps populating from but it does seem to finally exhaust itself at some point.

I repeated this process on each of my devices, until I had a completely clean favorites listing in Microsoft Edge and then I started adding back in favorites manually. Without any rhyme or reason they slowly propagated across all of the devices, including Edge on Windows 10 Mobile and appeared in the order I added them including sub-folders I decided to use.

I even cleaned out my IE Favorites to add a couple of new ones and then imported them which worked just fine and also propagated to all of my Windows 10 devices. I then added two new favorites on IE and once again imported them and it brought in the new shortcuts and did not duplicate the ones that were imported previously including one folder.

As I stated earlier, there is no definitive method of forcing these changes to be picked up on individual devices but they do make their way around. In my testing it is usually within about 30 minutes or so. 

Of note, it does seem to take much longer for the changes to reach Edge on Windows 10 Mobile compared to desktop and tablet devices.  In some circumstances it seemed devices that had been turned off synched changes immediately upon opening Microsoft Edge after the system was running. I just wish the others synched as quickly as Favorites do with Internet Explorer – which is almost instantaneous.

The next step is to organize the layout of the Favorites in Edge and they can be dragged and dropped right in the listing and placed in any order you choose. These changes will propagate to other devices so it only has to be done on one device to reach the others.

It may not be the most effective or efficient way to keep things organized but it is proving to work just fine so far. I think the key to getting it all syncing up is to start from scratch and build from there.

What has your Microsoft Edge Favorites experience been like? Did this process help clean things up?

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