The new Microsoft Edge browser based on Chromium was released in January 2020. Unlike the original Edge browser, which is only available for Windows 10, the new Microsoft Edge Chromium based browser can be installed on Windows 7/8/8.1/10 and is also available for MacOS.
Microsoft Edge is ready for business and has dedicated deployment resources for the enterprise. In this article I specifically want to talk around the feature in Microsoft Edge which allows you to see which policies are applied to the browser. This is very useful for verification of Microsoft Edge group policy deployments.
Group policy templates
Group policy templates for Microsoft Edge are available to download. As with most group policy settings, you can configure settings within the user configuration and computer configuration. With Microsoft Edge though, you should notice that there are two nodes available, as shown in the image below.
The “Default Settings” node performs a similar function as Group Policy Preferences (GPP). These are settings that you would configure to give your users a consistent experience, but these settings can be changed by the end user to suite their own preferences.
The other node “Microsoft Edge” are mandatory or enforced settings. These are the settings that your end users would not be able to change. This can be used to enforce corporate standards and baseline security configurations.
With the basics covered, I can move on to the good part and show you the easy way of verifying which Microsoft Edge policies are applied to the end user.
Edge policy view
With Internet Explorer group policies, it wasn’t always easy to determine exactly which policies and settings were applied. We had to make use of the command line tool (gpresult) and Resultant Set of Policies (RSOP.msc) to determine which policies are applied to the user and computer. You would also need to evaluate the settings within IE to determine if the required configurations were actually applied as expected.
In the below example, I have configured some basic group policy settings to demonstrate. I’ve configured settings in the user and computer configuration section, and I have used settings from both Microsoft Edge nodes which will demonstrate the difference between the two configurations.
With Microsoft Edge, the process of verifying policies is much simpler. Once the policy is applied to the user or device, all you need to do is open Microsoft Edge and enter edge://policy in the address bar.
On the left is the section “Policy Name”. This is the specific policy that is applied based on the settings defined in the group policy. They are also hyperlinks. Selecting them will take you online to the specific policy setting on the Microsoft Edge browser policy document which can be used as reference to understand the policy setting.
On the right we have two more columns of information:
Applies To: This indicates whether the policy setting is configured in the user configuration or computer configuration setting of the group policy.
Level: This indicates whether the setting is mandatory, thus user cannot change this setting, or recommended which means this was configured in the “Default Settings” node in the group policy. Users can change these settings to their own preferences.
The new Microsoft Edge not only provides web compatibility for business, it also makes it easier for administrators to deploy and troubleshoot group policy configurations. The policy page in Microsoft Edge can assist you to verify that all required policy configurations are applied successfully. The details on this page can also guide you to the specific group policy section without having to guess if this was a computer or user configuration setting.
Microsoft Edge uses the same core technology as Google Chrome. Administrators familiar with Google Chrome deployment may already be familiar with the policy page to troubleshoot group policy deployments.