SOLVED

Keep Favorites Synced between Internet Explorer and Edge NOT available in Edge Chromium

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Contributor

We run a huge hospital domain with 86,000 workstations. We have extended support for Windows 7 because many of the hospital apps need IE and ActiveX to run.
We are trying to move the users off IE and onto Edge Chromium but one KEY part is missing in the Group Policies.

The "Keep Favorites Synced between Internet Explorer and Edge" NOT available in Edge Chromium Group Policy. This setting is ESSENTIAL to our clients. Favorites are stored via Folder Redirection on the Active Directory Home Drive Servers so nurses that roam between 30 machines always have their Favorites.
If their Links are not available then it will impact patient care.

We have the setting set in Microsoft Edge and it works just fine. Where is the Setting for Edge Chromium?

I don't understand why Microsoft would abandon the ability to have Favorites and Links Roam.

"If you enable this setting, employees can sync their favorites between Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge."

160 Replies
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Hi,
it's not abandoned but the method that you would use to do it is changed now.

You can use this group policy to achieve what you want:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployedge/microsoft-edge-policies#configure-favorites

you only have to do something only once and that is importing your current favorites to a file to push it to all of your workstations

"Configure favorites

Supported Versions: Microsoft Edge on Windows and Mac since version 77 or later

Description

Configures a list of managed favorites.

The policy creates a list of favorites. Each favorite contains the keys "name" and "url," which hold the favorite's name and its target. You can configure a subfolder by defining a favorites without an "url" key but with an additional "children" key that contains a list of favorites as defined above (some of which may be folders again). Microsoft Edge amends incomplete URLs as if they were submitted via the Address Bar, for example "microsoft.com" becomes "https://microsoft.com/".

These favorites are placed in a folder that can't be modified by the user (but the user can choose to hide it from the favorites bar). By default the folder name is "Managed favorites" but you can change it by adding to the list of favorites a dictionary containing the key "toplevel_name" with the desired folder name as the value.

Managed favorites are not synced to the user account and can't be modified by extensions."
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@HotCakeX 

No that is not it. I don't want to enforce specific Favorites with users. That has always been an option since IE 5 this setting.

 

I want Edge Chromium to look like EDGE did to the Favorites folder from Folder Redirection on the Users Server Home Drives. So %homeshare%%homedrive%\Favorites

 

This is ENTERPRISE. We do not use locally stored settings. We do use UEV but it doesn't seem to sync them either.

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It won't be local, it's just another GPO.
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployedge/microsoft-edge-policies#example-value-162

the XML file is pushed to the clients automatically using Group Policy management, so it won't be local but central.
you will be able to see the applied policies using this URL on Edge: edge://policy/

but you mentioned you don't want to enforce specific favorites to users, so I assume you want your clients/employees to be able to add any site they want to their favorites, is that right?

if that's the case, then you don't need to use that GPO, just rollout the new Edge to their machines. a work profile (not able to sync) will be automatically created for them.

Microsoft Edge can only sync with 2 types of accounts. 1 is free Microsoft accounts (@outlook, @hotmail, @live) or Azure Active Directory accounts (Microsoft/Office 365 subscriptions) with Enterprise state roaming
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/devices/enterprise-state-roaming-enable

also i think this is useful to mention that all of the favorites in Edge are saved in a file called bookmark and it's located in user directory folder:

"C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Bookmarks"

it's not encrypted, you can open it via Notepad, change the contents (add/delete/modify) and then push it to your clients.
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@HotCakeX 

We absolutely cannot use any type of Azure or Microsoft accounts. It violates security not to mention our Freedom of Information and Privacy act. We cannot have Microsoft having any access to any private Canadian health care data and we cannot store anything on any servers that have data in the US or accessible by admins outside of Canada because of the Patriot Act.

 

The IE Favorites are redirected now using Microsoft FOLDER Redirection to their Home Drives. Original Edge then syncs with IE Favorites using that GPO.

We don't want Favorites stored in the AppData\Local because AppData\Local never ever roams in any scenario. It doesn't roam with Roaming Profiles, it doesn't Roam with UEV, it doesn't roam in any way state or form (by design).

 

Users need to be able to create favorites IN THEIR Favorites folder and have them appear in Edge on all their computers they login to exactly the same as it was with IE or Edge Original.

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"We absolutely cannot use any type of Azure or Microsoft accounts. It violates security not to mention our Freedom of Information and Privacy act. We cannot have Microsoft having any access to any private Canadian health care data and we cannot store anything on any servers that have data in the US or accessible by admins outside of Canada because of the Patriot Act."

Hmm that's interesting! anyway I only was saying it FIY.

to my knowledge it's no longer possible to do it the way you did for IE or classic Edge, maybe others know a better undocumented way.


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@HotCakeX You might want to talk to the edge team to see if they can help, and maybe integrate it back in.

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Well this post is on the forum publicly visible so they're able to see it and help, specially with their names mentioned.
it's not the first time though, 2-3 posts about the same thing was created during the past 5-6 months by others and i told them the same thing, that it's no longer working the same way IE or Edge classic used to worked, no one else commented to propose a different method, neither devs nor normal users.
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It's a Chromium thing, by design

http://www.chromium.org/administrators/policy-list-3#ManagedBookmarks

 

 

P.S Google is moving this feature to the cloud, so Microsoft Edge will be the only one using policies to allow on-premise AD users to be able to manage favorites locally.

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@lforbes We're sorry to hear that you're encountering issues with syncing favorites! I will pass this along to our Edge Enterprise team ASAP, and hopefully we can get some valuable insights for you. In the meantime, can you please confirm the Edge version/build and the OS that you're using? (Are they all Windows 7?)

 

Thanks,

 

Fawkes (they/them)
Project & Community Manager - Microsoft Edge

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@fawkes 

Windows 10 1903 - New Edge Chrome. Enterprise Build 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/edge/business/download

79.0.309.71 Version.

 

Group Policy is under original Edge. We also have the new Microsoft Edge ADMX templates installed on our Domain Controllers. The new Edge GPOs do not contain the "keep favorites synched" option that the original Edge GPOs do.

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I have a follow up question on this. Typically, for large customers who have IE dependencies but also need to use modern websites, we would recommend using IE mode. That way, from a user perspective, you just use 1 browser and we use the site list to ensure that the sites just work.

Using IE mode, you would typically just store all of your favorites in Microsoft Edge, and the browser would take care of ensuring the site works.

 

We would still need to solve the problem of on-prem sync (which the team is currently investigating), but I'm wondering if it would this solve the problem to have a Microsoft Edge on-prem sync rather than syncing to IE? Are you familiar with IE mode? Would that work for you? If not, I'd love to hear that feedback!

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Best Response confirmed by lforbes (Contributor)
Solution

@Chris Jackson @fawkes 

 

I'm not quite sure what's so hard to understand about the issue.

 

This has nothing to do with Windows 7 or with Internet Explorer specifically. How IE mode suddenly came into the picutre - I have no idea. This is all about where to store the favorites in the new Edge.

 

The issue is the following:

 

- Users are using multiple computers. To have the same desktop, documents and favorites on all those computers Microsoft's "Folder Redirection" is used and configured through GPOs.

- So Internet Explorer's favorites are stored on e.g. \\server\users\%username%\favorites

- The old Edge has a GPO that allows it to automagically sync its own favorites with Internet Explorer's favorites that are stored on that network path. If you add a favorite in either IE or the old Edge it is automagically synced to the other browser instantly.

 

Now the new Edge comes along and we have to face the following limitations:

- Any kind of cloud-sync or usage of Microsoft accounts is not possible due to data privacy regulations

- The new Edge is storing its favorites in the local file deep inside the %LOCALAPPDATA% folder of the user.

 

This causes issues for us in a number of ways.

 

While the first-run import of favorites (from the redirected Internet Explorer favorites) is currently broken in v80 (its supposed to be back in v81) it only provides a momentary snapshot of the redirected favorites.

The bookmarks file being a local file means that we cannot easily back it up either. And when the user receives a new PC or uses a different machine than he usually does he'll have to import all the favorites again, from the redirected Internet Explorer favorites. But all the favorites he has managed in the new Edge in the meantime are not available (or even gone for good in the case of a new PC).

Importing the same old IE favorites on different PCs will soon result in having different favorites on all those PCs. And there is no way to easily merge them either.

 

This is a real problem.

 

We really need a way to redirect the bookmarks file to a network location so that it can be:

- used from multiple PCs

- be backed up easily during the regular server backup

- not get lost when the user's PC dies or gets replaced for another reason

 

All this was easily doable with the redirected favorites folder used by Internet Explorer and thanks to the "keep favorites synced" GPO in the old Edge Browser.

 

 

Also, please do not suggest to use the "UserDataDir" policy. This would redirect the entire user profile to a different location. Cache and everything. It is also not quite certain whether a redirected UserDataDir can actually be used by multiple instances of Edge on different computers at the same time (locked files issue and such). But even if it was possible, we really don't want to roam 100MB+ of useless data.

 

All we are really looking for is the possibility to specify a network location for the "bookmarks" file that is by default stored under "C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default". That's all we really want and need.

 

Bonus points for actually bringing back the "keep favorites synced between IE and Edge" policy that the old Edge supported. But that would really only be the cherry on top.

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Chromium browsers like Edge and Google Chrome have the Group policy that is a better way to manage favorites.
OR
you can use online servers of Microsoft to sync favorites.
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@HotCakeX 

We do not want to _manage_ favorites. We do not care what kind of favorites the users save. What we care about is making sure that users have the same favorites on all devices in the company. And we care about favorites not being lost when a computer is switched out or the harddisk dies.

 

And again, we cannot (read: must not) use any kind of cloud-sync due to data protection regulations. GDPR and whatnot. Uploading any of our data to Microsoft's (or any other) cloud is not allowed.

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"What we care about is making sure that users have the same favorites on all devices in the company."

EXACTLY. that's where Group Policy comes into play.

ManagedFavorites
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployedge/microsoft-edge-policies#managedfavorites


Description

Configures a list of managed favorites.

The policy creates a list of favorites. Each favorite contains the keys "name" and "url," which hold the favorite's name and its target. You can configure a subfolder by defining a favorites without an "url" key but with an additional "children" key that contains a list of favorites as defined above (some of which may be folders again). Microsoft Edge amends incomplete URLs as if they were submitted via the Address Bar, for example "microsoft.com" becomes "https://microsoft.com/".

These favorites are placed in a folder that can't be modified by the user (but the user can choose to hide it from the favorites bar). By default the folder name is "Managed favorites" but you can change it by adding to the list of favorites a dictionary containing the key "toplevel_name" with the desired folder name as the value.

Managed favorites are not synced to the user account and can't be modified by extensions.
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@HotCakeX 

"Managed favorites" is NOT what we want. We do NOT want to enforce certain favorites for all users. We want that our users have their OWN favorites on all computers. If they log onto machine #1 and add a new favorite, it should be available on machine #2 too.

 

I have a really hard time understanding how you manage to misunderstand every single post in this thread, sorry.

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@narutards 

Spoiler

@narutards wrote:

@HotCakeX 

"Managed favorites" is NOT what we want. We do NOT want to enforce certain favorites for all users. We want that our users have their OWN favorites on all computers. If they log onto machine #1 and add a new favorite, it should be available on machine #2 too.

 

I have a really hard time understanding how you manage to misunderstand every single post in this thread, sorry.


How am I misunderstanding?

 

this is what You wrote:

"

  1. We do not care what kind of favorites the users save.
  2. What we care about is making sure that users have the same favorites on all devices in the company.
  3. And we care about favorites not being lost when a computer is switched out or the harddisk dies.

"

 

You see? all those 3 points you mentioned can be covered by that group policy.

 

But now you seem to want an offline sync server, on-premise syncing server if you will.

 

to let employees use any device they want and have access to their own favorites in the new Edge.

But you also mixed all of that with Internet explorer!

 

you can do all that with a custom on-premise software that syncs files locally. Edge saves all favorites to a file called "bookmarks" in User Directory.

and since IE also does save favorites to a local directory, you can add that location to the sync list as well.

 

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/files/storage-sync-files-firewall-and-proxy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"And again, we cannot (read: must not) use any kind of cloud-sync due to data protection regulations. GDPR and whatnot. Uploading any of our data to Microsoft's (or any other) cloud is not allowed."

You need to talk to Microsoft support about your concerns on that area.

there are lots of experts in the community:

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/azure-active-directory/ct-p/AzureActiveDirectory
https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/azure/ct-p/Azure