Microsoft Edge gets a speed boost in Windows 11 – with a little help from Google

woman being blown away at the speed of her laptop
(Image credit: Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock)

Microsoft and Google have teamed up to make the default Edge web browser in Windows 11 feel a lot faster and smoother to use – and the tech used could benefit Chrome users as well.

As the Winbuzzer website has noticed, this is all thanks to Windows 11’s Application Launch Prefetch range (APLF), which has been expanded, potentially boosting its performance.

APLF comes with a parameter known as ‘/prefetch’ which instructs how Windows 11 optimizes and loads applications. In short, this means Windows 11 can prioritize certain programs and dedicate more processing power or memory to the app – and that could mean Edge will load faster when you start it up, display websites (especially image-heavy ones) more smoothly, and just generally feel a lot quicker.

While it won’t magically make your internet connection faster, it could still make the process of browsing the web in Edge feel a lot snappier and responsive. The increased range of the /prefetch parameter, highlighted in a code submission to the Chromium project, will allow for “better process separation, especially for renderers, and utility processes,” – so Windows 11 will be better at optimizing resources for Edge.

Strange bedfellows? Not quite

The fact that Google has been lending a hand to improve the performance of Microsoft’s Edge browser may seem a little bit odd since the search giant has its own rival browser Chrome.

However, this collaboration makes a lot more sense if you take into account that both Edge and Chrome run on the same underlying Chromium code – so by helping improve Edge performance in Windows 11, Google should also see those improvements coming to Chrome as well.

This is the beauty of big companies like Google and Microsoft working on open-source projects like Chromium, as it means those projects can get the benefit of features and fixes from teams that have the resources, training, and experience that might otherwise be kept in-house.

At the moment, improved Prefetch compatibility is included in the latest Edge Canary build, which is an early version used by developers to test out new features. If it works as expected, it should then be included in an update for the Edge browser everyone uses.

APLF is also slated to be made available for any application that runs in Windows 11, so this work won’t just benefit Chrome, Edge, and other Chromium-based browsers either. Exciting stuff!

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Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.