Five top tips for using Windows 10's Spartan browser

spartan browser
Credit: Preston Gralla

If Microsoft has its way, Windows 10's Spartan browser will be the future of the way you browse the Web. Here are five tips to get more out of it, today.

Install Spartan now

Depending on your build of Windows 10, you may or may not have Spartan installed on it. You need to have Build 10049 or higher. If you have an earlier build, you'll need to get it installed. The best way to do that is to get onto what Microsoft calls the Fast Ring, which quickly updates your version of Windows 10 whenever Microsoft has a new version out.

To move from the Slow Ring to the Fast Ring, on the Start Menu click Settings, then select Update & Recovery -->Windows Update -->Advanced Options. Scroll down to the section titled "Choose how preview builds are installed" and select "Fast" if you want to move to the Fast Ring. That'll do it. To switch back to the Slow Ring, get to the same location, and instead select "Slow." For more details, see "How to get into the 'Fast Ring' express lane for Windows 10 updates."

Make Spartan your default browser

For now, Internet Explorer is still Windows 10's default browser. (That will likely change in Build 1056, when Spartan will probably become the default.) To change Spartan to your default browser, click the Windows 10 Start button and select Settings-->System-->Defaults. Internet Explorer will be listed as the default browser. Click its icon and choose Project Spartan.

Use Reading view

Reading view is one of Spartan's best features. It strips away unnecessary distractions from a page, including ads, sidebars, fancy layouts, and more. Instead, you get an easily scrollable page that just displays the page's content. To use it, click the Reading view icon on the upper right. It looks like an open book.

Customize how Spartan works

You've got plenty of options for changing how Spartan works. You can have it block cookies, or let them through; block pop-ups or let them through; send Do Not Track requests for more privacy; show the Favorites bar or turn it off; change the Reading view style; and more. To do all that, click the three dots on the upper right hand corner of the Spartan screen and select Settings. Then scroll through the settings and change what you want.

Mark up and share a page

Spartan lets you make comments and mark up a Web page, and then share it with others. I'm not convinced this feature will catch on, but if you want to try it, click the Web notes icon on the Spartan toolbar -- it's a pencil over a piece of paper. A new toolbar appears with a variety of tools for commenting, markup, and sharing. Use it, then turn off the toolbar by clicking Exit.

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