When Microsoft finally sucked it up and abandoned its homegrown web browser engine for Chromium, it opened a veritable floodgate of features. Not only did it get a browser that works with the majority of the world’s web pages, it even gained support for popular extensions right off the bat. It also acquired the ability to be everywhere, even on Apple’s macOS. And, almost coming full circle, it has started to support even its old systems, namely, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Microsoft is actually just fulfilling a promise rather than going out of its way to support older platforms. It promised that the new Microsoft Edge would be available on all supported versions of the OS. Support for Windows 7 won’t end until January 2020 for consumers and much longer for enterprise so Microsoft has to keep its word.
Microsoft says that the version of the Chromium-based Edge practically has the same functionality on the older Windows as on Windows 10. Of course, there are some key differences like missing dark mode. Microsoft is also working on getting Azure Active Directory (AAD) Sign-in working on those platforms.
Although Chromium, the open-source base of Google Chrome, does give it the ability to be on more than just Windows, Microsoft is taking pains to get Edge everywhere for a slightly different reason. Just like with the Linux subsystem, it’s a way to keep developers, especially web developers, from jumping to other platforms or software. In other words, it’s Microsoft’s new version of lock-in.
Microsoft Edge for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 is only available on the Canary channel, with a Dev channel version coming soon. Despite its professed love for Linux, however, the new web browser is still absent there.