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Microsoft Edge now steals your data from Google Chrome after an update

3 weeks ago 47

google chrome microsoft edge

Microsoft just can’t stop trying to get you to switch to Edge, with the browser more aggressively stealing your open tabs from Google Chrome.

Since its launch in 2020, the new Microsoft Edge has proved to be a solid browser, but Microsoft has never stopped being very aggressive about trying to get you to use Edge over other browsers, especially Chrome. Microsoft and Google have gone back and forth for years on this issue, with Microsoft even burying the settings for your default browser on Windows 11 for a while.

As is now getting some attention this week, another tactic Microsoft is employing is to have Edge copy all of your active tabs from Google Chrome so, if you end up in Edge, you get to pick up where you left off.

The Verge noted this week that, when updating a Windows PC, Microsoft Edge automatically opened up after the reboot and came up with all of the tabs that were being used in Google Chrome on the same machine. That’s despite Edge not being used on that machine, and Edge never having asked to sync data from Chrome. On another machine following an update (and a system restore), the same thing happened.

As it turns out, Microsoft seems to be, in these latest Windows updates, more aggressively using an existing setting that imports data from Chrome to Edge every time you launch the browser.

We first reported on this setting when it launched back in 2022, with Microsoft Edge allowing users to “import browser data on each launch.” The option can be turned off through Edge’s settings (edge://settings/profiles/importBrowsingData), but what seems to be changing right now is that Microsoft is pushing this setting on users after Windows updates.

Zach Edwards on Twitter/X found that, during post-update setup, Windows has added a new option that’s turned on by default which is described saying:

With your confirmation, Microsoft Edge will regularly bring in data from other browsers available on your Windows device. This data includes your favorites, browsing history, cookies, autofill data, extensions, settings, and other browsing data.

Microsoft then briefly directs users on how to disable this, and on a separate screen, pushes users to accept that behavior while also offering a “Not Now” option.

Beyond that, some have noticed that even with this import setting disabled, Edge still imports Chrome data every time it starts. Microsoft hasn’t commented on this behavior, but it’s been noted by quite a few users across Twitter/X, Reddit, and Microsoft’s forums over the past several months.

this post bothered me for days so I reinstalled Windows ++ confirmed that there's an obscure setting to sync Chrome data into Edge (+ it's shared to MSFT if you're signed-in & sync your browsing data) — to turn it off, open Edge then: edge://settings/profiles/importBrowsingData pic.twitter.com/SiBmDsD8oT

— Zach Edwards 🔗infosec.exchange/@thezedwards (@thezedwards) January 26, 2024

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