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What Is Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime?

4 Min. Read

The Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime is a new web control that allows developers to host web content in their native Windows applications.

It provides significantly better performance and security than the current WebView control. It supports a more contemporary web platform, including features such as the EdgeHTML rendering engine, Service Workers, and CSP 2.0.

Let’s dive in to learn more about Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime.

Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime

The purpose of WebView2 Runtime is to provide the same web platform capabilities and update rhythm as the Stable channel of the Microsoft Edge browser. It allows users to develop apps and host content in their native applications. It will use the Microsoft Edge (Chromium) rendering engine.

Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime App
Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime App

In simpler terms, it is runtime or browser support designed for or during app production/development when you’re creating a new experience or improving an existing one.

How it works is you can embed certain web technologies, such as Javascript, CSS, and HTML, into native apps. It will display content within your native apps using Microsoft Edge.

Please note: WebView2 Runtime is not yet widely available. It is currently in its preview stage but will be accessible soon.

How Microsoft Edge WebView2 Works

App builders can use WebView2 to embed coding into varying parts of their native app/s or build a whole app within it.

You can set up various development tools to create a WebView2 app. Microsoft is currently providing tutorials to help you get started.

Benefits of WebView2

The benefits of Microsoft Edge WebView2 are:

> You can add web components to your app piece by piece using incremental adoption.
> Fixed version distribution, meaning you can add a specific version of Chromium bits to your native app if you wish to do so.
> It’s evergreen. Regular platform updates and security patches enable you to stay up-to-date with Chromium.
> Regular support from Microsoft, including new feature requests.
> Code sharing for increased reuse among numerous platforms.
> Full access to all Native APIs.
> Consistent UX support for Windows 7, 8, 10, and 11.
> Fast deployment and iteration.
> Full autonomy to use the entire web ecosystem.

What Platforms are Supported?

At the time of this writing, the programming environments that Microsoft supports are:

  • .NET 6
  • WinUI 2.0
  • WinUI 3.0
  • Win32 C/C++
  • .NET Framework 4.5 or later
  • .NET Core 3.1 or later
  • .NET 5

And as for Windows, WebView2 apps can run on:

  • Windows Server 2022
  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 **
  • Windows 11
  • Windows 10
  • Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC x32 2019
  • Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSC x64 2019
  • Windows 10 IoT Enterprise 21h1 x64
  • Windows 8.1
  • Windows 7 **

** Identical support line to Microsoft Edge.

How is WebView2 Different From Microsoft Edge?

While WebView2 is templated on Microsoft Edge, how it differs is it gives further freedom to extend certain features from Microsoft Edge to your native WebView2 apps.

Also, WebView2 isn’t exclusive to browser-like apps – this does mean that certain browser features will need to be either modified or removed entirely.

How Do I Install WebView2 Runtime?

In theory, you won’t need to, as Microsoft began the roll-out of automatically installing it on Version 2101 devices and those with Microsoft 365 packages as of June 2022.

Download the WebView2 Runtime
Download the WebView2 Runtime from Microsoft

WebView2 will also be utilized to provide Office Add-ins soon too.

To summarise: if you have a Windows device or any other Microsoft product, you won’t need to do anything, as the Runtime will eventually be installed automatically onto your machine (if it hasn’t done so). You won’t even need to have Microsoft Edge browser installed.

Also, it will rely on its automatic updates several times each month, meaning you won’t need to update it manually.

WebView2 Runtime: Other Info

WebView Runtime won’t be installed on macOS-running devices.

The file name is msedgewebview2.exe

And you won’t need to uninstall WebView2 because it will not interfere with other applications or use too much additional storage.

Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime: FAQs

How do I debug WebView2 Apps?

You can do this by using one of the following tools:

  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Microsoft Edge DevTools
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Code

These will help you to debug both native codes, as well as web code.

Is the Microsoft Edge Stable channel supported for WebView2?

Currently, WebView2 apps aren’t permitted to utilize the Stable channel. This means it has a restriction in place preventing dependency from the browser. This is predominantly because there is no guarantee that Microsoft Edge will be on all user devices. Particularly those which aren’t managed directly by Microsoft or are disconnected from Windows Update.

Is Microsoft Edge WebView2 Runtime necessary?

If your device uses Office, then generally, yes, it is necessary. If this isn’t installed on your device, you will not be able to take advantage of all of the Office features that rely on WebView2.

Can I delete Microsoft Edge WebView2?

It’s not safe to delete the Edge WebView2 Runtime which is a component of Windows, and not Microsoft Edge?

The Microsoft Edge WebView2 component provides interface functionality in many apps on your system, like File Explorer, PDF Preview, the Photos App, the new Media Player app, etc. If you uninstall it, then those apps will not work correctly.

Now if you still want to delete and uninstall Microsoft Edge WebView2, then you can follow the steps below:

1) Click start, search for the Command Prompt app, and select Run as Administrator.

2) Next, navigate to the path where it is installed by typing the command below.

Make sure to replace the <version.number> with the correct version that it’s installed on your system, and then hit Enter:

cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\EdgeWebView\Application\<version.number>\Installer

# On my Windows 11 device, the version installed is: 109.0.1518.52
cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft\EdgeWebView\Application\109.0.1518.52\Installer

Uninstall Microsoft Edge WebView2

3) Last, copy and paste the following command to silent uninstall Microsoft Edge WebView2, and then hit Enter:

setup.exe --uninstall --msedgewebview --system-level --verbose-logging --force-uninstall

What happens if I uninstall Microsoft Edge?

Firstly, you can still use Windows without issue if you have force-uninstalled Microsoft Edge. However, as Microsoft’s default web browser, it is considered an essential component of Microsoft’s operating system, and it isn’t recommended if you force-uninstall it.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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About the Author
Charbel Nemnom
Charbel Nemnom is a Senior Cloud Architect, Swiss Certified ICT Security Expert, Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP), Certified Information Security Manager (CISM), Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP), and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). He has over 20 years of broad IT experience serving on and guiding technical teams to optimize the performance of mission-critical enterprise systems with extensive practical knowledge of complex systems build, network design, business continuity, and cloud security.

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