Microsoft released build 14342 of Windows 10 today, bringing new enhancements to the OS. Among the new features is the ability to install extensions for the Edge browser directly from the Windows Store.
The Edge Browser Extensions
Microsoft’s Edge browser has featured support for extensions for some time now, but installing and maintaining extensions has not been a pleasant experience. For each extension you wanted to add to the Edge browser, you had to download, extract and then load the files from a local folder. When an update for the extension was available, you then had to uninstall the original extension and repeat the installation process for the updated version.
Although this method of adding extensions to the browser works, it is far from convenient. It made what should be possible with the click of a single install button a multi-step process that eats up the user’s time. Build 14342 resolves this issue, as extensions can be installed from the Windows Store just by clicking “install.” The Windows Store will also keep extensions up-to-date without the need for user intervention.
To coincide with this improved extension installation service, Microsoft announced that several new extensions have been added to the Windows Store for the Edge browser, including AdBlock, AdBlock Plus, Pin It Button, Mouse Gestures, Reddit Enhancement Suite, Microsoft Translator, and OneNote Web Clipper.
Before you start installing new extensions, however, there are a few caveats to this new system that you should be aware of. First, any extensions you previously installed should be removed and then installed using the Windows Store; otherwise, they will not update. Second, there is a bug in the new system that occurs if all extensions are turned off without being uninstalled. This disable menus or close the browser. To avoid this problem, it is best to keep at least one extension enabled at all times.
Microsoft also added a few new features to Windows 10’s notification and navigation systems. The Edge browser now features support for web notifications from websites such as Skype for Web. This way, if you get a message and are busy, a notification will be sent to the Action Center in Windows 10. As for navigation, Microsoft enabled swipe gestures to allow you to navigate backwards or forwards to pages you have recently visited.
Several other improvements were made to the OS in various other areas, as well. Some of these are minor graphical changes, such as a new dark mode for the User Account Control dialog box, as well as improved animation for Cortana. Other changes addressed specific bugs such as one that rendered DRM-protected services unable to play and cause them to throw up an error code.
The list of bug fixes is rather long, so if you have been having trouble with a persistent Windows 10 glitch, you may want to check and see if it has been resolved in this latest build.
This new build is currently available only to users in Microsoft’s Windows Insider fast ring. After some testing, if there aren’t any serious problems with the build, it will be pushed out to everyone else.