Microsoft stole my Chrome tabs, and it wants yours, too

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Last week, I turned connected my PC, installed a Windows update, and rebooted to find Microsoft Edge automatically unfastened pinch nan Chrome tabs I was moving connected earlier nan update. I don’t usage Microsoft Edge regularly, and I person Google Chrome group arsenic my default browser. Bleary-eyed astatine 9AM, it took maine a infinitesimal to recognize that Microsoft Edge had simply taken complete wherever I’d near disconnected successful Chrome. I couldn’t judge my eyes.

I ne'er imported my information into Microsoft Edge, nor did I corroborate whether I wanted to import my tabs. But present was Edge automatically opening aft a Windows update pinch each nan Chrome tabs I’d been moving on. I didn’t moreover recognize I was utilizing Edge astatine first, and I was confused why each my tabs were abruptly logged out.

After nan daze wore off, I looked to make judge I hadn’t accidentally allowed this behavior. I recovered a mounting successful Microsoft Edge that imports information from Google Chrome connected each launch. “Always person entree to your caller browsing information each clip you browse connected Microsoft Edge,” sounds Microsoft’s explanation of nan characteristic successful Edge. This mounting was disabled, and I had ne'er been asked to move it on. You tin cheque for nan mounting astatine edge://settings/profiles/importBrowsingData.

Microsoft Edge pinch my Chrome tabs.

Microsoft Edge pinch my Chrome tabs.

Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

So I went to instal nan aforesaid Windows update connected a laptop, which really resulted successful it failing and my having to do a strategy restore. Once nan strategy reconstruct was complete, nan aforesaid point happened. Edge opened automatically pinch each of my Chrome tabs. I haven’t been capable to replicate nan behaviour connected different PCs, but a number of X users replied to my post astir this saying they person knowledgeable nan aforesaid point successful nan past.

It each seems to beryllium related to a mostly unreported import characteristic successful Microsoft Edge that I had confirmed was abnormal connected my systems. Zach Edwards, a privateness and information proviso concatenation researcher, freshly installed Windows and replied to my station connected X to statement he had recovered a caller punctual during setup that reads:

With your confirmation, Microsoft Edge will regularly bring successful information from different browsers disposable connected your Windows device. This information includes your favorites, browsing history, cookies, autofill data, extensions, settings, and different browsing data.

Microsoft says nan information import is completed locally and stored locally but that it will beryllium sent to Microsoft if you motion successful and sync your browsing data. Microsoft displays a large bluish judge fastener to promote Windows users to alteration nan feature, pinch a darker “not now” fastener if you want to opt out.

I’m not wholly judge really Microsoft Edge automatically opened and imported my Chrome browser information without this mounting enabled. I did announcement connected my PC that a full-screen punctual appeared aft installing nan update that morning, overmuch for illustration nan ones Microsoft uses to promote group to move to Edge and Bing aft a Windows update. The punctual appeared but vanished successful little than a second, truthful it’s imaginable this dialog collapsed and Edge decided to do nan import anyway.

I’ve asked Microsoft for remark connected what I witnessed, but nan institution has not responded successful clip for publication.

I’m not unsocial successful experiencing this, either. Multiple Windows users person been reporting this for months, turning to Reddit and Microsoft’s ain support forums for help. Posters person confirmed nan aforesaid characteristic is disabled, but nan information imports support happening.

Maybe it was conscionable a bug for maine this time, aliases possibly I’m astir to acquisition what others person been complaining astir for months. But it’s clear Microsoft has been rolling retired a characteristic to automatically import Chrome, Firefox, aliases different browser information from immoderate web browser that isn’t Edge. It mightiness beryllium a useful characteristic for some, but if it’s faulty, past Microsoft needs to hole this quickly.

Given nan full-screen punctual that vanished conscionable earlier I knowledgeable nan issue, really Microsoft convinces group to move this mounting connected will besides beryllium important. Microsoft has already been producing full-screen prompts aft immoderate Windows updates that effort to tempt group to move to Microsoft Edge and Bing arsenic defaults.

Microsoft regularly uses full-screen prompts to effort to get Chrome users to move to Edge.

Microsoft regularly uses full-screen prompts to effort to get Chrome users to move to Edge.

Screenshot by Tom Warren / The Verge

It’s not ever evident to consumers what they’re really changing, particularly erstwhile Microsoft disguises things arsenic “recommended” browser settings. It’s easy conscionable to deed a large bluish yes fastener alternatively of a “not now” 1 that’s little prominent. Microsoft has a history of utilizing nan benignant of strategies we’ve seen from bloatware and spyware developers to beforehand its web browser. Those person ranged from Windows updates that person launched Edge and pinned it to nan desktop and taskbar without support to polls aliases prompts erstwhile you effort to download Chrome.

Microsoft Edge is actually good, truthful I judge dream nan squad building it isn’t astir to edifice to more tricks to get Chrome users to usage it.

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