Sunday, May 22, 2022
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How Microsoft will stop autoplay videos in Microsoft Edge

While Google futzes around with your ability to mute and block autoplaying video within the Chrome browser, Microsoft has taken action. Global controls for preventing video from auto-playing within Microsoft Edge are being rolled out.

So far, Edge’s new powers are limited to the beta version of Edge that ships with the Windows Insider builds of Windows 10, scheduled for the fall of 2018. You’ll be able to set global controls as well as per-site exceptions. But by the time fall arrives, everyone should be able to control which sites autoplay video within Edge.

How autoplay controls work within Edge

Right now, global controls for autoplaying videos allow you to choose among three choices: block, limit, and allow. Microsoft says it may tweak or add other options in the future, so it’s possible these choices will change. 

For now, you’ll need to access the Settings menu, which in Edge is concealed behind the ellipsis (three dots) menu in the upper right-hand corner of the browser. Clicking it exposes the sidebar menu, where you’ll have access to Favorites, the Reading List, and more. Scroll all the way down to the Settings heading at the end. 

That, in turn, will open the Settings menu, now subdivided into a number of categories of options. The default is the General settings, where you can configure the Edge theme and other options. What we want to access is in the Advanced menu.

Microsoft Edge media autoplay controls Mark Hachman / IDG

The global media autoplay controls within Microsoft Edge are buried in the Advanced portion of the Settings menu.

Here, you’ll find what you’re looking for: the global media autoplay controls. You can select one of the options from the drop-down menu we mentioned previously: allow, limit, or block. The Allow and Block options are self-explanatory—keep in mind that block tries to block all video. The Limit option falls into a middle ground, which we’ll explain below. Note that whatever permission level you choose will become the default behavior for autoplaying video, unless you choose a specific permission on a per-site basis, below.

Microsoft edge limit video Mark Hachman / IDG

“Blocking” a video still allows the site to create a popup window, as shown here in the lower right-hand corner. If Edge is doing its job, a blocked video won’t actually play.

One of the best torture tests of any browser or ad-blocker is the San Francisco Chronicle’s mass-market website, Here, your browser is deluged by ads and pop-up videos. Even turning on the global “block” command, the site manages to load and display still images where you’d expect to see video: in large players centered on the page, as well as pop-up windows that float into the corners of the screen. But the site doesn’t play the video, so in this case, Edge does its job. 

(Don’t worry, though. Using the Block setting, Edge just blocks videos from autoplaying. You can still manually click a YouTube video, for example, and it will play normally.)


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