Windows 11 doesn’t make it easy to choose your own default browser. Here’s how to do it
Windows 11, which starts rolling out next week, has a nasty surprise for some users. Unless you are very careful, it will automatically set your default browser to Microsoft Edge, even if you have downloaded Chrome, Firefox, Brave, or another browser. Depending on which browser you choose, remodeling it can be a tedious process. But this can be done.
Like it or not, Windows 11 is coming. Microsoft has announcement it will begin rolling out its next operating system on October 5, starting with the most recent devices and eventually reaching all eligible PCs and laptops. (Which devices will be eligible for Windows 11? It is complicated.) Customers with qualifying devices pretty much get Windows 11 whether they like it or not. Although it is possible to prevent it from installing on your Windows device, the steps involved are not something that most users are likely to undertake on their own.
While the latest operating system may have a lot of useful new features, it also has a sneaky one: if you’re not really careful, your the default browser will be reset on Microsoft Edge. If that happens, every time you click on a link in any app, it will automatically open that link in Edge. You’ll only have one chance to change that – the very first time you click a link after downloading a new browser. At this point, Windows 11 will open a pop-up window that asks if you want to open the link in Edge, Internet Explorer, or any new browser you downloaded. Importantly, there will be a checkbox at the bottom of the pop-up that says “Always use this app”. Forget checking that box, and the next time you click on a link, you’ll be back in Edge.
At this point, if you want to reset your browser to default, you can, but be prepared to spend a few minutes doing so. This is because, compared to the fairly simple and intuitive process of changing the default browser in Windows 10, Windows 11 requires that you specifically reset the browser to every type of file that the browser could possibly open. So, for example, if you want to switch your default browser to Chrome, you will need to change it specifically eleven times, for HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS files. To make things even more time-consuming, Windows 11 will open a pop-up every time asking you not to stray from Edge, because it’s so awesome. You will need to avoid the big blue box that says “Check it out” and click on the less visible “Change anyway” to complete the process.
The makers of Chrome, Firefox, Brave and other competing browsers are not at all happy with this new change. Firefox retaliated by releasing a new version in August that reverse engineered Microsoft’s default switch, allowing you to set Firefox as the default with one click, if that’s your preferred browser. As of this writing, all other browsers are sending you Windows settings to make the changes yourself.
Do users really want a more granular choice?
When The Verge asked Microsoft why switching is so much harder in Windows 11 than in Windows 10, a company spokesperson said the decision was made in response to customer feedback and was aimed at helping users. , allowing them to “customize and control defaults on a more granular level, eliminating app categories and bringing all apps to the forefront of the default experience.”
This explanation seems to me to be fallacious. It seems unlikely that even the most tech-savvy customers will want to set a different default browser for opening HTML files as opposed to HTM files, let alone SHTML and XHTML, older file types that users rarely encounter. These days. It’s hard to imagine a wave of customers asking to set a default browser for each of the 11 file types, and even harder to imagine them asking for a pop-up prompting them to try Edge instead. This pop-up clearly indicates the real purpose of this change.
Pushing users into Edge isn’t the only land grab in Windows 11. The operating system also comes with Microsoft Teams preinstalled and it appears in your computer’s taskbar, as an icon. purple speech bubble with video camera inside. Teams also loads automatically every time you start Windows. If you want it to stop loading every time, let’s say your business is using Slack and they’re not interested in switching to Teams, there’s a to treat to do this. At least it’s not as long as the steps required to set a default browser of your choice.
Using its status as a dominant operating system to create a competitive advantage for its other products is, of course, what caused Microsoft problems with the Department of Justice 20 years ago. The company is apparently willing to bet that this will not happen again. In the meantime, once you’re on Windows 11, it’s worth taking a few minutes to set up your own computer to run the apps you prefer if they’re different from the ones Microsoft has selected for you. But it’s really boring that you have to do it.