Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Microsoft used to be a dominant force in the web browser space. By packaging Internet Explorer with Windows operating systems and with some shady tactics, Microsoft quickly became the leading web browser, eclipsing Netscape by 1998, 3 years after release. At its height in 2002 and 2003, 95% of all users accessed the internet using Internet Explorer. However, if history has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is ever too big to fail. Like the Roman Empire, Pogs, and Blockbusters before it, Internet Explorer also fell victim to its own success. Being slow to change, Internet Explorer was soon overshadowed by quicker, more advanced browsers. By 2012, Chrome had replaced Internet Explorer as the most popular web browser. Now, barely a shadow of its former self, Internet Explorer and Edge combined make up about 10% of all desktop web browser usage. But hey, at least we got some excellent memes out of it, right?
As bleak as 10% sounds, Microsoft’s situation isn’t all bad. Being the only browsers included by default with Windows is hugely advantageous, even if it’s only primarily used to download other browsers. Additionally, Microsoft is learning from its mistakes and is willing to make radical changes to once again compete for a chance to become user’s default browser. On January 15, 2020, Microsoft released Edge, built on Chromium. This change drastically improved Edge’s website rendering accuracy and compatibility, resolving many of the issues that have plagued Edge since its initial release.
With Chromium based Edge now providing a better, faster browsing experience, organizations are starting to consider Edge as a valid option for their users. If you are wondering if Edge and Edge for business are any different, well, not really. Functionally, Edge and Edge for business are the same. However, Edge for business does provide sysadmins some additional control with versioning and administrative settings.
Here at PDQ.com, we specialize in making your life easier. Let me show you how, with PDQ Deploy, you can distribute Edge for business to hundreds of computers in just a few clicks. If you don’t have PDQ Deploy or PDQ Inventory and you want to follow along, you can download a free 14-day trial here.
With PDQ Deploy open, click on the Package Library in the menu tree
In the Filter field, type in Edge
Select Microsoft Edge for Business and click Download Selected (As Auto Download)
Since this package is an auto download package, Edge will update automatically within PDQ Deploy as new versions are released. By default, new versions are approved within seven days of being released. You can modify this setting in Options > Preferences > Auto Download.
With Edge downloaded, let’s first create a schedule that will automatically deploy the package for us.
Click on the Microsoft Edge for Business package
Click New Schedule
Enter a name for the schedule
Click the Triggers tab if it’s not already selected
Configure your schedule trigger to best meet the needs of your organization. Remember, you can have multiple triggers on the same schedule.
I’ll select the Weekly trigger since I like to run my deployments once a week, and I’ll configure it to run on Fridays at 4 PM
Select the Targets tab
In the Targets menu, you can decide which computers you want to deploy to. You can add computers manually one at a time, or you can choose a collection of computers from different sources such as Active Directory or PDQ Inventory
I’ve made a static collection in PDQ Inventory (more on that in a moment) that I will target for my deployment. To select it, I will click on Choose Targets > PDQ Inventory > Collection
Select the collection, and click OK
Click the Options tab and ensure Stop deploying to targets once they succeed is selected
With a deployment schedule created, the devices in the targeted collection will continue to receive the newest version on Edge once it’s released and approved automatically. Since I’m impatient, let’s go ahead and manually start a deployment so we don’t have to wait for the schedule to kick off.
Right-click on the Microsoft Edge for Business package and click on Deploy Once
Click Choose Targets > PDQ Inventory > Collection
Click the collection you want to deploy to
Click Deploy Now
PDQ Inventory makes tracking your Edge installations a breeze. Inventory comes packaged with pre-built dynamic collections to track many popular applications, including Edge for business. You can find the Edge dynamic collections in the menu tree by expanding Collection Library > Applications > Internet Browsers > Edge for Business. Here you’ll find Edge for Business broken down into three dynamic collections, Edge for Business (Latest), Edge for Business (Not Installed), and Edge for Business (Old).
You can target these collections in PDQ Deploy, just like I did with my static collection. Targeting dynamic collections is the preferred method when you are configuring deployment schedules. By targeting the Edge for Business (Old) and the Edge for Business (Not Installed) dynamic collections, you can ensure that all of your computers stay up to date with the latest version of Edge.
Maybe my words were a bit harsh towards Internet Explorer. It did serve as the default browser for millions of users for well over a decade. It may have its security flaws, and it may be a bit slow, but it got us through to better times. With Internet Explorer reaching its end of life on August 17th, 2021, we won’t see it ever regain the userbase it once had. However, its younger sibling, Edge, is shaping up to be a legitimate browser option and may have what it takes to once again be a dominant force in the desktop web browser market.
If you want to learn more about automating deployments and making your life easier, check out our Set it n’ forget it video. Lex goes over the pros and cons of automation and shows you how to be as lazy as possible and still get the job done.