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Microsoft to auto upgrade some business and education PCs to Chromium Edge in August

Microsoft this week warned enterprise and education customers running Windows 10 that it will start replacing the old, original Edge browser on their PCs with the newer Chromium-based version on or after July 30.

First to get the forced swap will be machines in educational settings, Microsoft said, citing back-to-school scheduling for the prioritization. (Many K-12 schools, along with colleges and universities, are saying, “We will share a business timeline at a later date,” wrote Elliot Kirk, senior program manager with the Edge team, in a July 30 post to a company blog.)

According to Kirk, PCs serviced by Windows Update will be automatically upgraded to the Chromium Edge. “This update will not impact devices in education and business updated by Windows Update for Business (WUfB) or by Windows Server Update Services (WSUS),” he asserted.

Microsoft first broached the auto-swap idea in mid-January, alongside the public release of the first Stable channel build of Chromium Edge. Then, it set firm guidelines for which PCs would forcibly replace the legacy Edge with the new edition. In short, Windows 10 Enterprise, Education and Workstation Pro would be untouched, as would Windows 10 Pro systems joined to an Active Directory (AD) or Azure Active Directory (AAD) domain; those updated using WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) or WUfB (Windows Update for Business); and those controlled using tools such as Intune and SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager).

Although many assumed Microsoft would quickly begin the new-Edge-for-old-Edge exchange after its January missive, the company didn’t do so until early June. Then, when Microsoft announced the swap start, it made clear that its original plans had not changed.

A careful parsing of Kirk’s post – as well as some recently-revised support documents – points to a slightly different go/no-go on the Edge swap. Kirk made clear that any device serviced by Windows Update would be eligible, thus including those running, say, Windows 10 Education or even Windows 10 Enterprise, which under earlier rules had been immune by virtue of their SKU (stock-keeping unit).

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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