MICROSOFT HAS a long history of giving with one hand and taking with the other and its move to a Chromium-based browser is a fine example.
At the end of last week, the company announced that it was bringing a Windows Defender extension to Chrome and Firefox.
But as ever, its seeming attempt to cross the divide has a sting in the tail and sure enough, the Windows Defender has a sneaky little payload. You can't use it without its own browser Edge as well.
Application Guard, the extension in question, doesn't protect the page in your browser of choice, it creates a sandboxed Edge tab, protected from the rest of the Windows instance.
The good news is that this only applies to "untrusted" sites, but if you're in an enterprise environment, using a web app that hasn't been https:// certified, that's going to get old, very fast.
The thing is, the blacklist isn't even something that users can control easily - it is decided at Microsoft level, meaning that unless your sysadmin lets you create a whitelist, you're going to be constantly juggling two different web browsers if you go off the beaten track at any point.
Windows 10 Home users can rejoice as they won't have this protection/lockdown, but Professional and Enterprise users can expect to get used to being very annoyed, very fast.
The new feature is currently testing in the Insider community, so it could be a while before it makes it here.
Microsoft hasn't got any better ideas, so this is how it's going to work, but isn't it convenient that users are going to be stuck with Microsoft's browser of choice? They must be delighted.
One particularly irritating aspect will be that any false-positives will end up missing from your history, and you won't be able to use the password manager from your preferred browser (though probably a good thing for an untrusted site).
Application Guard is likely to roll out officially alongside the rebuilt Chromium-powered Edge browser later in the year. Of course, if you can't wait, join the Insider Programme. μ
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