When Microsoft released Windows 10, they thought that their brand new operating system needs a new browser. All previous versions of Windows had Internet Explorer as the default browser. Now it has retired and has been replaced by Microsoft Edge.
Just like Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, Edge is a fast and secure browser – a major improvement comparing to the older browser solution by Microsoft. If you have been using Internet Explorer, you will notice that pages are loading much faster in Edge. In addition to speed, it also offers a clean interface – most users say they really love it. Microsoft Edge can be enhanced with various extensions. Maybe not so many as other rival web browsers, but still it is a good thing to have.
As we said, Microsoft Edge was introduced with Windows 10, and it is not available in older versions of Windows including Windows 8 or Windows 7. This fact is terribly frustrating not only for ordinary users but for the developers as well. However, there are two ways to deal with the problem and be able to use Microsoft Edge on Windows 7/8/8.1 without switching or upgrading your system to Windows 10.
Microsoft has images with Virtual Machines – Hyper-V, VMWare, Parallels, and Virtualbox – and they come with Windows 10. They can be downloaded and used for free by anyone. The operating system is already pre-configured so that you can use it right away. The VM version, for example, offers Windows 10 Enterprise edition. Its trial period is limited to 90 days, but it can be extended to six months.
Before using this method, there is one thing you need to keep in mind. All data saved in your virtual machine will be wiped when Windows expires. To prevent that you need to save your data from the Virtual Machine. In addition, you can get another copy of the Virtual Machine image to use when the first one expires. This will give you 90 days more to use Microsoft Edge and Windows 10 as well.
Microsoft says that right now they are focusing on improving Edge for Windows 10. They will surely release a standalone version when they are ready. Right now, we can only hope and guess when it happens. But today all interested users can try Edge without upgrading to Windows 10.
You can download Microsoft Virtual Machines from the official website. For Windows 10 Enterprise (Evaluation – Build 201812) you will need to have 20GB of free space just for downloading the package. You can select one of the four available platforms: Hyper-V, VMWare, VirtualBox, or Parallels. These Virtual Machines can be used on Windows, Mac, or Linux.
BrowserStack offers free live cloud access to Microsoft Edge and Selenium Cloud. In cooperation with Microsoft, of course, so everything is legal here. The main plus of this method is that you don’t need to download a heavy package with a virtual machine image and run it locally. With BrowserStack you can get into action right away, so it is much faster to get started.
However, there is also a minor downside. You need to register on the BrowserStack website and create your personal account. Only after that, you will be able to use the service. Free plans are limited to 30 minutes, but you can use Microsoft Edge without any limits due to the partnership with Microsoft.
When you are in, select Windows 10 in the menu, and then pick one of the versions of Microsoft Edge available at the moment. BrowserStack will launch Edge in the browser used to access the site. You may have minor lags during browsing. Unfortunately, it is one of the minuses of using this method to test Microsoft Edge. You won’t have any problems of that lag nature if you run the browser in a virtual machine.