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Application Optimization Essentials: Microsoft Edge

· 6 min read
Jake Norman

Application Optimization Essentials: Edge

In previous blog posts, we talked about optimizations as they related to the Windows Operating System, including Active Setup, the Microsoft Store, Services & Scheduled Tasks, and more.

This blog series will focus on application optimizations. We started this series with our Introduction to Application Optimization, which showcases common items to look for when it comes to application optimization. We followed up with Application Optimization Essentials: Google Chrome. This blog will deep dive into one of the most commonly used browsers: Microsoft Edge of the Chromium variety.

Since these blog articles will fixate on just one application or application type, they will be mostly shorter in nature, but will still provide you with good information that you can use to optimize your environment.

Please note that the optimizations provided in this blog are intended only as a guide. Be sure to test the optimizations described internally before pushing the changes to your production environment.

Now, let's jump directly in.

What is Microsoft Edge?

Microsoft Edge is a web browser, installed by default on all new Windows 10 installations, which is used in many environments worldwide. It is a replacement for Internet Explorer found in older Windows operating systems. In 2018, it was announced that Microsoft Edge would switch to using the Chromium open-source project, which we will discuss more a little later. It is widely utilized within corporate and personal environments alike and is a great addition to any VDI environment... but that doesn't make it perfect.

As of the writing of this blog post, Microsoft Edge is at version 110.0.1587.57. Please take this into account when attempting to optimize the application.

Microsoft Edge has quite a few options for optimization that we will cover, including how to prevent the application from auto-updating, how to prevent Active Setup, as well as preventing some Microsoft staples, mainly dealing with the first time application run.

Let's talk about installation

Since Microsoft Edge is built into all new Windows 10 installations, installing Edge is usually not necessary. You can still download and install Microsoft Edge separately, if needed.

Microsoft Edge follows two installation paths. For personal use, you can download Microsoft Edge using the online installation. For enterprise use, you can download using the offline installation. This link also contains separate links to download policy.

Ok, so Microsoft Edge is installed, now what?

With Microsoft Edge installed, we need to go down the list of possible optimizations that can be done. Since Microsoft Edge is built using Chromium, in a lot of ways, the optimizations we will talk about below mirror those of Google Chrome, just with different names.


Microsoft Edge comes with three services that can potentially be optimized. The Display Name of these services are:

Microsoft Edge Services

The purpose of the Microsoft Edge Elevation Service is to allow Edge to perform administrative actions, generally around automatic updates.

The purpose of the two Microsoft Edge Update Services is to keep Edge updated automatically.

We can use the same PowerShell commands as described in Part 3 of the Windows OS Optimization Essentials blog here.

Scheduled Tasks

Microsoft Edge installs two scheduled tasks that can potentially be optimized. These scheduled tasks exist at the root Task Scheduler Library level and are named:

Microsoft Edge Tasks

Both scheduled tasks are used for automatic updates for the Microsoft Edge application.

We can use the same PowerShell commands as described in Part 3 of the Windows OS Optimization Essentials blog here.

Active Setup

Microsoft Edge contains a single Active Setup item that can potentially be optimized. This Active Setup item exists within the registry at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Active Setup\Installed Components\\{GUID}. The GUID can potentially change based upon the version of the application.

Microsoft Edge Active Setup

This Active Setup item is used to configure Edge for new users on their first login.

We can use the same PowerShell commands as described in Part 1 of the Windows OS Optimization Essentials blog here.

Startup Items

Microsoft Edge contains one Startup Item. Located at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce, there is a value that runs Edge in cleanup mode. Despite the fact that this value exists in the RunOnce key, this value exists perpetually, probably because it's recreated as part of the RunOnce value. This value doesn't exist in the corresponding 32-bit RunOnce location.

Microsoft Edge Startup Item


Microsoft Edge has two registry values that I have found which pertains to optimizations: Disabling the First Run Experience and Hardware Acceleration Mode.

For the First Run Experience, as with Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, upon opening the application for the first time for each user, has a mandatory set of questions that users have to get through before they can use the application. While I'm sure that Microsoft has important reasons to gather this information, for your users this requirement is more of a pain.

To change the First Run Experience, you will need to set a registry value. The key location of this value is HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Edge. As this key may not already exist, create it as necessary. The value is a DWORD called HideFirstRunExperience and has a value of 1 to disable and a value of 0 to enable.

Hardware Acceleration Mode is the ability for the application to utilize more than just the CPU to allow itself to run smoothly. While this may seem like a good thing, and it generally is, in VDI environments, enabling Hardware Acceleration Mode can be problematic as the application will try to utilize hardware components that either don't exist or exist in a minimal capacity due to hardware considerations. Disabling or enabling Hardware Acceleration Mode can be done from within Microsoft Edge, but it can also be done via the registry. The value for this exists at HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Edge. As before, if this key doesn't already exist, create as necessary. The value itself is a DWORD value called HardwareAccelerationModeEnabled and has a value of 0 to disable and a value of 1 to enable.

What's Next?

This blog covers the optimization options for Microsoft Edge. The next blog will continue the path of discussing optimization possibilities for browsers, this time Mozilla Firefox.

As always, any information provided in this guide are recommendations only and should be vetted against your environment before implementing in a production scenario.

If you need assistance in optimizing your VDI or DaaS images, check out our Nutanix Xpert Services Template Image Creation and Optimization service.

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Jake Norman

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Jake Norman
Jake Norman is a Staff Consultant with Nutanix Professional Services. He has been a part of the Professional Services team for three years and prior to that spent 20+ years in a myriad of different environments focusing on EUC and UX work.

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