Back up, restore and migrate Microsoft Edge browser profiles between PCs

Previously I was one of those users who did their best to live with the old/original/legacy Edge that dated back to Windows 8 (originally codenamed “Project Spartan”). However, I would often find myself using Chrome, especially because of the multiple profile capabilities. From time to time I would need to use Firefox, but those were few and far between. Chrome really was it.

The new Microsoft Edge built on Chromium is fantastic. From the first moment I used it, I’ve never gone back to Chrome or Firefox. The story is the same for every person I’ve introduced to the browser. It gives you the best bits of Chrome, along with the best bits of the old Edge, and then a whole lot more we’ve not had before.

Anyway, I digress, you’re not reading this because you need to be converted.

One of the best features of Edge is the ability to sync your profile, including passwords, history, open pages, and more.

The Challenge

Unfortunately, there’s no way to be able to sync the existence of the profile itself. What I mean by that, is that if you want your profiles on another computer – you need to create each of them, sign in, sync, adjust the sync settings, and hope it all works.

If you’re moving from one machine to another, or wiping & re-installing Windows, this can be potentially a frustrating exercise – especially when you have lots of profiles. On my daily driver, I have 17 profiles in Edge. Some are to the same M365 tenant but different accounts (for example one is a user, one is an admin), some are for client environments, etc.

I also have a laptop that lately is hardly used due to a virtual halt in travel, however when I do get into the office and need to do something – I don’t have the profile set up.

The Solution

I put the call out on Twitter a while back asking if anyone knew of a way to backup/export/copy/migrate profiles as I had done it once before by copying folders from a profile path but it wasn’t that successful.

Luckly one of my work colleagues, Alex Laurie, rose up to the challenge, and wrote a PowerShell script that exports and imports Edge profiles with only the slightest amount of effort.

You can either use the PowerShell script available on GitHub or install the PowerShell module directly into Windows.

Operation of the script / module is straight forward:

  • Specify the Edge channel you want to use (i.e. Stable, Beta, Dev, Canary)
  • Specify the output folder for the exported file

NOTE: You can’t have Edge running while you use the script as it will fail.

Once that’s done, simply pop it into your OneDrive or on a USB drive to get it over to your other machine.:

This effectively takes a copy of all of the Edge profile folders, cache, images and all. So, if you’ve been going for a while you can end up with a large zip file. The export on my machine took 2.5 hours and created a 16GB zip file.

In the end I opted not to bother importing it due to the size but did take the opportunity with my new laptop to set up all the profiles afresh. I then exported and imported to my other computer within minutes and was happily going again.

As it only copies the profile content and configuration, I still needed to sign in to sync each profile – but it still saved me the hassle of having to remember each one of them and do it again.

Also published on Medium.

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