Windows 10 will ship with a new web browser called Microsoft Edge. PC users will still be able to use Internet Explorer, but Microsoft is really pushing its new browser which features a new rendering engine, a new user interface, and support for new features including the ability to annotate websites with handwritten notes or drawings.

But it’s not just the new features that makes Microsoft Edge different from Internet Explorer: the new browser also drops a lot of features that have been part of IE for years.

microsoft edge_02

Members of the Microsoft Edge team outlined some of the changes in a blog post, explaining some of the features that would be dropped and why.

Among other things, the new browser lacks support for ActiveX, MIME filters, Webslices, Browser Helper Objects, VBScript, and Vector Markup Language. Instead the web browser will rely more heavily on HTML5, JavaScript, and other technologies that have been widely adopted by competing web browsers (and therefore, by web publishers and web app developers).

Microsoft Edge also includes built-in support for Adobe Flash and for rendering PDF files. It doesn’t require any third-party plugins to do those things.

Microsoft says cutting these features leads to improved performance and security while helping ensure that websites will look the same in Microsoft Edge as they do in other modern web browsers.

So what does this mean for websites that currently only support Internet Explorer? Fortunately there aren’t nearly as many of those sites as there used to be. While IE may be the browser that ships with Windows, its popularity has declined over the years as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and other browsers have become more popular.

But there are still some sites including custom-built enterprise solutions that rely on technologies such as ActiveX and that’s part of the reason Microsoft isn’t killing off Internet Explorer yet. By including two web browsers in Windows 10, the company gives users the option to fire up the shiny new browser or to use IE to access websites that rely on legacy technologies.

Or you can just install Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Maxthon, or whatever other browser you’d rather use.

Note that while Microsoft Edge will be available when Windows 10 ships this summer, there are some features that aren’t yet finished. Microsoft plans to roll out support for web extensions, Object RTC, and additional ways to the Cortana personal assistant with the browser through future software updates.

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20 replies on “Microsoft Edge Browser won’t support ActiveX, VBScript, other Internet Explorer features”

  1. Is the built-in Flash sandboxed like in Chrome? For some reason MS Edge + Adobe Flash doesn’t sound right while Google Chrome + Adobe Flash sounds okay.

    1. ?!
      Guess that are the old habits of hating everything MS. They have been doing a lot of things right in the last few years and I actually trust them more than Google.
      I do not trust Adobe at all though but sometimes some sites just still use Flash so I use IE11 to view ’em.

    2. and yes, AFAIK it is sandboxed. And gets (like Chrome too) regular updates (even outside the current patch day cycle) which actually do work automatically. Adobe Flash plugin updates (the older plugin for older IE or Firefox) did mostly not work automatically so I think that IS progress.

  2. Sensible decision to drop most of the proprietary stuff. Given the proliferation of platforms, and their reduction in dominance even in the desktop Windows market, they can no longer expect web designers to create sites that use their proprietary tech. It’s also true that the standards have pretty much matured to the point where that stuff isn’t needed anyway.

    Web developers will certainly be rejoicing on the day they no longer need to support IE any more.

    1. I think you’re dreaming. There will probably always be a multi-browser web, and the “I can’t cut it making IE pages work” crowd will find another scapegoat for their limitations. Firefox did tremendous damage to the web through its blind adoption by web secretaries.

      1. “Scapegoats” have nothing to do with it. If your browser can’t correctly display pages using current web standards, I have no interest in wasting my time making your piece of crap software look like it works. You want your users to have a working browser? You make it work. I am sick and tired of this system that pretty much requires that web content providers do the work that should have been done in the first place by the browser developers.

        “Is this site not displaying correctly on your device? Click here to upgrade to a browser that respects its users by supporting current web standards.”

        If more and more web developers refused to compensate for browser developer laziness, the users of those browsers would begin to catch on and switch to a different platform. Making sure your own site is compatible with everything helps in the short run, but in the long run it makes everything difficult for everyone.

  3. Oh no, MS Edge includes built in support for Flash…Really? Why???

    This will end up in tears folks. 🙁

    1. “Microsoft Edge also includes built-in support for Adobe Flash and for rendering PDF files. It doesn’t require any third-party plugins to do those things”
      Right from the article…

      1. With Valves push towards Linux with Steam-on-Linix / SteamOS one of the 2 Bastions of Windows relevancy is already crumbling. If major Productivity Software Vendors would follow suit, for example an officially supported Adobe CS on Linux, we could be there before Win7 Extended support ends in January 2020.

        1. you did not check that Steam stats though, did you? Linux may be pushed but has a tiny little share which has not even been growing the last times I checked.

          And Abobe CS on Linux is a dream, note I do not say it is bad but a dream which I guess will be a dream for a long time.

          1. @ “Mike 1” Since Linux doesn’t natively support DirectX, getting your Games on Linux means making them use OpenGL, and while Valve does hold conferences with workshops aswell as generally offer support to Developers in utilizing OpenGL, they can’t spend as much as MS advocating and subsedizing development.

            Yes, Adobe CS on Linux is a pipedream, but if Valve can successfully establish a compatibilty baseline for “Entertainment Software” that proves financially viable support costs can be achived for highly complex games across the board, concideration into either duplicating or piggybacking on such a system might turn out to not only be commercially viable, but lucrative enough to go ahead with it.

          2. All my bets are on OpenGL Vulkan to provide that compatibility baseline for “Entertainment Software”.

        2. (Not the same Mike). Not a chance. You seriously misunderestimate the difficulty in making Linux a serious competitor for Windows in the client computing space.

          1. @ “Mike 2”: Windows made its breaktrough in Corporate Settings thanks to Users Familiarity with the System and postive feedback loops.

            The OS on your personal computing device is one you engage voluntarily with, for fun. If you have any say in the matter of what type of System to use for work you will naturally be inclined to go for something you’re already familiar with. => People using Windows at home made them want to use it at Work, using Windows at Work makes using Windows Servers apealing to administrators, Using Windows Infrastructure on the Backend makes having things other than Windows for Clients be a hassle. And that is how Windows became dominant in the Workplace.

            This also works the other way round. If Windows dominates the Workplace, chances are if you have to use a compute for work it will have Windows on it, if you want to get a personal computer you’re more likely to pick one that works the same way the ones at work do.

            Before the Advent of Smart Devices, most people simply used windows because of these positive feedback loops.

            Ultimately tho, it doesn’t matter what Manufacturer your hardware is from, or what company made the software that runs on it. You don’t buy a computer to run an OS on it, you want it to run programs or access services. Most Peoples reasons for choosing one over another are no more rational than picking their favorite sportsteam or religion – familiarity, a sense of community with the “in group” and/or switchting costs because of prior commitment.

            A lot of what people want to do or access nowadays is on the web, or runs on multiple platforms.

            Ignoring those factors, the only other objective apeal of any OS is the same as with Gaming Consoles – EXCLUSIVES.

            The 2 major things Windows still has going for it are Triple A Gaming Titles and Industry Heavyweight Productivity Software Suits. The thing that is hurting both those on Linux is lack of standartization and therefore support costs.

            It isn’t really that much more difficult to make OpenGL games than DirectX Games, but it is to make sure Software behaves the same across 100s of Distributions with 1000s of dependencies than supporting the last 3 Versions of Windows.

            Valve used the last Decade to transition from a Software Vendor to a Software Distribution Company, and is threatend by MS Windows Store. So their push for Gaming is to advocate and cooperate with Game Developers to use OpenGL and establish a baseline compatibility GUARANTEEING compatibility when running Steam-on-Linux on Ubuntu, or SteamOS, which is a stripped down Linux just for Steam and Steam Games, like ChromeOS is a strippe down Linux just for Chrome and Chrome Webapps.

            If Valve continues their effort on the Gaming Front, having Windows could become irrelevant for “must have Triple A Games”. If someone made a push for the same type of support guratanee via standartization for productivity software on linux, it wouldn’t magically make anyone switch who is perfectly content with using windows, but it would hold far less people back from taking the plunge who have been dissatisfied with MS for years or even decades.

          2. First, Linux took over DIY MakerSpace.
            Second, Linux took over Mobile Space (Android)
            Now, Linux is taking over Personal Laptops (Chrome OS, Ubuntu)
            Then, Linux will take over Personal Desktops (Steam Machines, Ubuntu, & other Debian forks)
            Next year, Linux will take over corporate client computer space. (Ubuntu, Red Hat, Suse LES)

            …while Micro$oft will switch to a $ubscription Windows service, which will piss off existing Windows customers.

      2. Your chart compares the mobile OS Android to the Desktop OS Windows and concludes that Windows is shrinking.
        Congrats.

    2. IE11 has Flash built-in for a long time too and there have not been major problems (same as with Chrome). I mainly use Firefox but have no Flash plugins installed so if I need to view a flash using site (which luckily is not as often as it used to be) I switch over to IE11. Guess I switch over to MSEdge when it is final, Firefox is not getting much better in the last few releases (putting it mildly, been quite unstable).

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