How to access hidden features in Microsoft Edge in Windows 10

Speed up the web with hidden settings in Microsoft Edge browser

Microsoft Edge is the browser replacement for Internet Explorer in Windows 10. Are you using all of the features in Edge? What about the hidden ones? Here’s how to access the secret features.

Microsoft Edge browser secrets revealed. How to access hidden settings yourself and block others from accessing them. Top Windows 10 tips.

Although the number of people using Edge for browsing the web is not high, you have to bear in mind that this browser is available only on Windows 10. By the end of 2016 Windows 10 had only a 25% share of the operating system market, so even if every single Windows 10 owner used edge, it would still have no more than a 25% market share.

A fair number of Windows 10 owners are using the browser and although it still lacks the breadth and number of extensions that you can get for Chrome, it is quite a good browser.

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Most of the features of Edge are obvious and there is a menu button in the top right corner that enables you to access the settings.

However, these are setting for ordinary folk and they are fairly simple. There is an advanced set of features for geeks and experts that are hidden from sight.

Related: How to save web pages to disk using Edge
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Related: Reset Edge browser in Windows to solve problems

Go to about:flags

Click in the address box and enter about:flags to access the hidden settings. It is the equivalent of the about:flags feature in Chrome and about:config in Firefox.

It is not as extensive as those browsers, but there are some features you might want to experiment with. These features are hidden for a reason and on the one hand changing them might make Edge unstable, but on the other hand they can make Edge more useful and maybe faster too.

Developer settings

In the developer settings section is an option to Show "View source" and "Inspect element" in the context menu. Right click anything on a page and these two menus show the code that makes up a web page. Enable it.

The about:flags hidden settings in Edge browser in Windows 10

If you have a website or if you are interested in web development, these can be useful features. You can learn a lot by looking at other people’s web page code and you can fix problems with your own web pages by inspecting the code. It is not for novices, but it is handy for experts.

Microsoft Compatibility List

Some websites use outdated technologies that should not be used these days and Edge, and Internet Explorer, cannot display them correctly. Microsoft’s solution was to make a list of those websites and then if someone tries to visit them, they can adapt to the old code using a special compatibility mode in the browser.

This can be useful for ensuring that websites display correctly, but you have to wonder whether the compatibility list is up to date. A site may once have used old technologies, but has since been updated. However, if it is still on the list, Edge (or IE) might continue to use the compatibility mode.

Clear the option Use Microsoft Compatibility list and compatibility mode is never used. All web pages use today’s modern web techniques.

It is possible that some web pages might not display correctly, but you will probably find that the compatibility list is not needed.

Experimental features

There are lots of options in the Experimental features section. Many of them are boring and the default settings are usually the best. There isn’t much to be gained by configuring them differently.

JavaScript

The JavaScript section is interesting and there is an option to enable experimental JavaScript features. If a website is experimenting with advanced JavaScript for certain functions, you might see them if Enable experimental JavaScript features is turned on.

The about:flags hidden settings in Edge browser in Windows 10

The option to Only execute timers once per second in non-visible tabs is interesting. Basically, it slows down JavaScript on tabs you are not actually viewing. So if you have 10 tabs open, only the one you are viewing runs at full speed and the others are slowed.

This is to increase battery life. If you only ever run your computer on mains power, or if you don’t care about saving battery power, clear the tick box and all tabs are run at maximum speed all the time.

WebRTC

The RTC stands for real-time communication. Streaming audio and video over the internet is one example, and it includes video and voice chat, file transfer and related activities.

Turn on Hide my local IP address over WebRTC connections for extra privacy. It prevents whoever you are communicating with from discovering your IP address.

Networking

Down near the bottom is Networking - Enable TCP Fast Open. Secure internet connections, which are becoming more common these days, are slow to get going because they require extra work to set up. There is an initial delay before anything starts happening.

The about:flags hidden settings in Edge browser in Windows 10

TCP Fast Open is designed to eliminate the delay with encryption and it speeds up web pages just a tiny bit. Turn on this feature to improve performance and browsing speed.

Reset the flags

If you have made several changes to the flags and cannot remember how they originally were set, right at the top of the about:flags page is Reset all flags to default.

Disable about:flags

Suppose you wanted to stop people from changing the flags settings, such as employees or children. How can you stop them from fiddling with about:flags?

There are two ways to disable the about:flags screen. Well, one way, but there are two approaches.

One method is to use the Group Policy Editor. This tool is not in ordinary windows, but is in Pro, Ultimate and Enterprise editions.

Press Windows+R and enter gpedit.msc

In the left panel, go to the following item: Computer Configuration / Administrative Templates / Windows Components / Microsoft Edge.

Select it and on the right, double click Prevent access to the about:flags page in Microsoft Edge.

Select Enabled to block about:flags.

Use the Group Policy Editor in Windows 10 to block access to Edge about:flags

(Return here and set it to Disabled or Not Configured to enable access again.)

What if you don’t have gpedit.msc?

Press Windows+R and enter regedit to run the registry editor.

In the left pane go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SOFTWARE \Policies \Microsoft.

Right click Microsoft and select New, Key. Name it MicrosoftEdge.

Right click MicrosoftEdge and select New, Key. Name it Main.

Select Main and in the right pane, right click and select New, DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name it PreventAccessToAboutFlagsInMicrosoftEdge.

Double click this new value you created and set it to 1. Quit the registry editor.

Use the registry editor in Windows 10 to block access to Edge about:flags

(To undo this and restore access to about:flags, return to that value, PreventAccessToAboutFlagsInMicrosoftEdge, right click it and delete it or double click it and set it to 0.)


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