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7 Top Features Microsoft Removed In Microsoft Edge

Cross Browser Testing / Web Development

7 Top Features Microsoft Removed In Microsoft Edge

Microsoft has set the release date for their latest version of Windows to July 29 of 2015. Alongside Windows 10 Microsoft will release their new browser Edge which is bound to replace Internet Explorer as the standard browser on Windows. In their effort to create a great new browser Microsoft has removed more than 300 API’s from the browser. In this post you can find out the 7 most used features that got removed. Make sure to check our page(s) to ensure support for the upcoming browser.


First introduced in 1996 the technology called ActiveX could be used to extend websites with Windows specific binaries. Unfortunately this lead to countless different security issues which lead Microsoft to disable ActiveX by default starting with Internet Explorer 11. Still many Enterprise applications use this technology so it could not be removed. Until Microsoft Edge where ActiveX is not only disabled but completely removed from the code base.


Internet Explorer is known for many different problems. Most recognizable for the end user are the endless supply of third party toolbars. Time and time again I’ve seen IE instances cluttered with 10 or more toolbars. Microsoft has completely removed these in Edge and will provide a HTML / JavaScript based extension model similar to other browsers instead. As the time of writing this extension model is still work in progress.

Legacy Document Modes

Did you know that you can switch the rendering mode Internet Explorer uses with the so called X-UA-Compatible tag? With this tag you can force even Internet Explorer 11 to render a page as the old Internet Explorer 7 would have. As it is only right and understandable Microsoft does not want to support this forever and has therefor removed this feature in Edge. In addition the Edge User Agent string is more in line with other browsers rendering the User Agent string more and more meaningless:

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; WOW64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/39.0.2171.71 Safari/537.36 Edge/12.0

Conditional Comments

Sometimes web developers were forced to use special code to make a website work in Internet Explorer. Fortunately there was a feature called conditional comments that made this possible:

<!-- [if IE 7]>
Special instructions for IE 7 here

Microsoft no longer want’s you to do this so this will not be possible in Microsoft Edge. Use feature detection instead.

DirectX Filters

In the past I googled “cross browser opacity” more than once because I just could not remember the correct syntax to make opacity work in all browsers including Internet Explorer. For reference you are supposed to do it like this:

.transparent_class {
  /* IE 8 */
  -ms-filter: "progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Alpha(Opacity=50)";
  /* IE 5-7 */
  filter: alpha(opacity=50);
  /* Good browsers */
  opacity: 0.5;

Long story short, Edge will finally support opacity out of the box so you can forget the directX filter function.


In 1996 Microsoft integrated VBScript as an alternative to JavaScript inside their browser. 19 years later we can say with some certainty that JavaScript has clearly won the scripting language wars and is not implemented in every browser and used on at least every second website your are visiting. Microsoft has finally adapted to this and has removed VBScript from their new browser Edge (and dropped support for it in IE 11 Edge more as well).

Vector Markup Language

The technology VML is another relic from the past. Created in 1998 it was intended to support easy rendering of 2D vector graphics. But adoption was poor and it did never get wide traction. So Microsoft has replaced it with SVG in Edge.


According to Microsoft more than 300 APIs were removed between Internet Explorer and Edge. Fortunately many of these old APIs have been replaced with implementations of HTML 5 features. You can try out Microsoft Edge today by joining the Microsoft Insider Program.

Photo by Sean MacEntee