An apparent hidden Windows feature makes Microsoft Edge import all your open Google Chrome tabs. Recently, users and a reporter from The Verge complain about the function that, in many cases, is activated discreetly.
The tool began to attract the attention of the community months ago, but gained prominence after the reporter The Verge, Tom Warren, notice that Microsoft Edge imported your old Chrome tabs by surprise. The MS browser opened all tabs of the rival app right after a Windows Update update.
I installed the latest Windows 11 update (KB5034204) and it rebooted and automatically opened Microsoft Edge with all the Chrome tabs I had open before installing the update ?? couldn't believe my eyes. Anyone else had this?
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) January 24, 2024
However, Warren does not remember importing data into Microsoft Edge, nor has he confirmed sharing tabs for the program. Somehow, the function was activated in the app, and the journalist only realized it when he noticed all his accounts were logged out.
According to research and user reports, this is a poorly documented feature of Microsoft Edge. The function is activated in the browser, or during the operating system installation process.
The feature is not mandatory, but it surprised Warren, who believed he had disabled the function when installing Windows 11. The reporter believes that the update resulted in some type of bug that, as a consequence, reactivated the feature in Microsoft Edge.
Another case of Dark Pattern on Windows 11
According to one of the reports, the activation of the feature happens very discreetly, and many users must have enabled it without knowing it. The request happens in the Windows installation, but the interface uses a Dark Pattern to ensure rapid consent.
this post bothered me for days so I reinstalled Windows ++ confirmed that there's an obscure setting to sync Chrome data into Edge (+ it's shared to MSFT if you're signed-in & sync your browsing data) — to turn it off, open Edge then: edge://settings/profiles/importBrowsingData pic.twitter.com/SiBmDsD8oT
—Zach Edwards ??infosec.exchange/@thezedwards (@thezedwards) January 26, 2024
Dark Pattern is a design pattern that tries to trick the user into accepting something “by mistake”. The strategy consists of using colors, flashy icons or button placement to promote unwanted actions.
In the case of the Microsoft Edge feature, the Dark Pattern occurs in the positioning and color of the buttons: the “Not now” button is displayed in gray, next to the “Accept” button, in blue.
How to disable the function
To disable the import of data from other browsers, you must follow the steps:
- In Microsoft Edge, go to Settings > Import browser data;
- Disable import on every Chrome startup.
If the function does not appear on your Microsoft Edge, it may already be disabled. In this case, you don't need to do anything.