Edge Considered Harmful: Overlaid Lower-Left Links
This page presents the evolving tale of a major defect in Microsoft's
Edge desktop web browser uncovered in January 2016. On it, you can read both the
initial description, plus a series of
For the TL;DR crowd:
Edge's mouse-over URL
covers and disables any links that happen to show up
in the lower-left corner of a page;
this impacts lots of web sites (including some of Microsoft's own),
and has been filed as a bug report by multiple people (including
and Microsoft has responded in typical customer-antagonistic fashion, as of
early 2018 refusing to fix the problem—or even acknowledge it
Per the updates ahead, an unrelated redesign
in 2018 eventually rendered this bug moot for this site's pages on
and less severe on
If you're game for a heavy dose of frustration, though, read on for
the full story.
training sites hosted here
have been tested successfully on Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer,
Opera, and Safari. Any reasonably-recent version of these web browsers should suffice.
However, as of early 2016, the new Edge browser on Windows 10
is not recommended for these sites, until a known defect in this browser is repaired.
Namely, Edge's URL display popup, issued whenever a mouse (or stylus) hovers above a link, can overlay
links in a page's lower-left corner, rendering them difficult to select, if not fully inoperative.
Even when no hover is intended, it's nearly impossible to activate any lower-left links—the
disabling URL popup appears immediately when the mouse cursor reaches the link, leaving no time for a click.
In the sites hosted here and others, this impacts both a bottom-of-page navigation toolbar, as well
as any other link that happens to wind up at the bottom left of the page.
When hovering over any of the leftmost links in these sites' bottom-of-page toolbars, or simply
trying to select them at all, Edge's URL popup may cover multiple leftmost links. For example, below
are screenshots of the book site's main page before and after the mouse cursor is moved to the toolbar's
left side; the URL popup hides multiple toolbar links, and disables them in the process:
More generally, Edge's popup can overlay and disable any hyperlink that happens to
wind up at the lower left corner of the page, due to a scroll or general text layout.
For instance, below is the scene for such a link before and after the mouse cursor reaches it;
the URL popup covers and deactivates the subject link, as well as any other links to its immediate
Impact on Users and Sites
All the other browsers listed above avoid covering such links by displaying the URL popup more
intelligently—on the left or right of the screen, just below lower-left links,
or in a separate status bar. In Edge, users must either avoid a hover on links at the lower
left corner of the page (e.g., by using touch if available), or perform a haphazard negotiation
with the obscuring URL popup, clicking just below it, or clicking while moving the cursor in
hopes of activating the covered link.
This is clearly an Edge bug. It impacts many other sites, including some of Microsoft's own,
and will hopefully be addressed in an Edge update soon. As is, the only recourse for web
developers seems to be either a full site redesign—which won't help for links that
solution to hide the URL
is deemed bad etiquette, won't work for users who have
The Bleeding Edge?
For more background on this bug, see the pertinent but unfortunately
unanswered Microsoft support threads
I also filed a report on the Connect site,
though its visibility is unclear, and there seems no other venue for bug reports from normal customers.
In its defense, Windows 10 was released just 6 months ago as this is being written, and Edge may still
be in a quasi-beta state. Given the
vehemence with which Microsoft
is trying to impose Edge on Windows 10 users, though, they should at least fix simple behavior issues like
this which other browsers solved long ago.
There may be additional reasons to give Edge a wait-and-see, but they are beyond this note's scope.
Its initial, default "choices" of search provider, for example, may to some seem either ploy to keep
novice users in the Microsoft fold, or unnecessarily dark humor...
Since I wrote the page above, Microsoft's support team closed the
of the problem described below and moved it to a new page, but marked it as a "Duplicate" at its
Unfortunately, the most similar report of this bug at the new site has also been marked as
which strongly implies that the problem won't be fixed.
It's possible that this will be addressed in a future Edge release anyhow; the user bug-reports
support team may be arbitrarily far-removed from actual developers, of course, and this
may just reflect dysfunction or incompetence in the reporting pipeline. If not, though,
my web sites—and scores of others—will simply not work very well in Edge.
Sorry, Microsoft, but most people are not going to spend weeks or months redesigning web sites
just because you've opted to dismiss a widely-reported and glaring bug as a "design feature."
I will, however, pass along a word of advice: arrogance and rudeness are not the best ways
to win the hearts and minds of people evaluating new systems whose adoption you hope to promote.
Barring a surprise future fix, your disappointed customers will have to mark this issue closed too;
perhaps they'll file it under "Peril of proprietary software" or
"See Edge (and Windows 10) alternatives."
If Edge's behavior on this site's lower-left links becomes too annoying,
there is a simple fix—click on Edge's upper-right "..." pull-down menu, and select
"Open in Internet Explorer." This opens the page in IE, which does the right thing for
these links (previewing their URLs on the lower right of the window), and is still present
on Windows 10 (despite its owner's best efforts to demote it).
Naturally, installing Firefox or Chrome may be the preferred solution for many readers;
at present Edge garners just 1% of the traffic at my sites, roughly 1 year after its release (see
also the next update below). Luckily, IE
remains an option for others—at least until Microsoft decides to take it away without your
or coerce you into their camp with monopolistic and even puerile
Now if only there was an option to "Restart in Windows 7"...
As of mid-2017's update for Windows 10, Edge has still not addressed the link-overlay-on-hover
issue, and after two years it seems unlikely that it will. Alas, the company apparently
has more pressing agendas. The good news is that,
two years later, Edge still gets less than 5% of the traffic on my website, behind Chrome, Firefox,
Safari, and Internet Explorer (which garner 59%, 18%, 11%, and 5%, respectively);
web-wide metrics show Edge faring
similar or worse.
Windows 10 S may try to force the issue by making Edge (and Bing) an unchangeable
default, but that system seems unlikely
to survive contact with market realities.
Also in mid-2017, the latest Firefox began overlaying links in the lower left of a page with a
URL-hover popup just like Edge, instead of moving them intelligently to the lower right when needed
as it formerly did. This is new in Firefox version 54; may be a genuine regression; isn't quite as disabling as
in Edge; and might be addressed by an
On the plus side here, Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer all still correctly avoid
overlaying lower-left links. Hopefully, Firefox has not decided to parrot a proprietary
browser whose market share is a fraction of its own.
Finally, a partially-happy ending: in early 2018, the URL-hover popup issue
was rendered moot on Firefox and less severe on Edge by an unrelated site redesign.
In short, CSS code now sets toolbar minimum size and forces scrolls on truncation to
support mobile devices. Although this code can set the scroll's space to appear on
demand only, setting it to be always present leaves space under the toolbar
to accommodate the URL popup's text. In other words, making the toolbar scrolled for
smaller screens also fixes or improves the URL-popup issue:
The issue goes away completely.
Here's the new scene on a recent (54.0.1) Firefox
with a URL popup.
The effect is even better when fonts are
and not negated when fonts are
Results are mixed. Toolbar links are now more usable, but they
are still somewhat obscured by the URL popup (which aggravates the problem
by posting itself above pointless empty space). Here's the scene
on the latest Edge
with a URL popup.
The obscuring is worse when smaller fonts are
though perhaps better than
Ironically, Microsoft's own
Internet Explorer still does better
than Edge, as do
(the latter have no hover, and use swipes instead of bars for scrolls).
To summarize, the toolbar scroll is a full solution on Firefox, and a partial
improvement on Edge. Although less radical than toolbar expansion or relocation,
for both browsers this is still a workaround, not a fix, and leaves
cosmetically-subpar empty space at the bottom of the window. For Edge, it's
also the best this site will do. Waiting for Microsoft to fix—or even
acknowledge—the problem is clearly futile.
In the end, companies that reap many billions of dollars from their customers
surely have proportionate responsibility for the quality of their products.
Ignoring glaring product defects can be a valid business practice only in a
world of mindless consumers and rabid monopolies.
Judging from this site's analytics on Edge's market share, that world,
happily, seems still a fiction.