Microsoft finally caves and makes it easier for users to switch default browsers in Windows...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,270   +894
Staff member
In a nutshell: If you have been frustrated by Windows 11's nastiness regarding setting browser defaults (or have avoided upgrading because of it), things should be changing soon. Preview build 22509 added a "set default" button. It simplifies the process by changing all web extensions to your browser of choice, but you still have to dig into the Settings app to use it.

Microsoft will soon make it easier to switch default browsers in Windows 11. Independent app developer Rafael Rivera spotted a new set-default button on the latest Windows 11 test build. The option is under Settings>Apps>Default Apps>[browser of choice].

Currently, users can only set a browser to default when accessing browser protocols from another program for the first time. For example, opening an HTML file or clicking a web link in a Word document will bring up a prompt asking which installed browser you would like to use. There is a check box to set that program as the default for that file extension (.html), but if you forget to check it, it defaults back to Edge and the prompt will not return again. So to change it, you have to go into Windows settings and flip each individual extension setting manually.

Microsoft confirmed to The Verge that Insiders are currently testing the change in a preview build of Windows 11.

"In the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday, we streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the 'default browser' to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:, .HTM, and .HTML," said Vice President of Windows Marketing Aaron Woodman. "Through the Windows Insider Program, you will continue to see us try new things based on customer feedback and testing."

Microsoft has heavy-handedly pushed its Edge browser on users since launching Windows 11. It started by simply making it a pain to switch defaults from Edge to an alternative. When browser makers began pushing back with workarounds, Microsoft doubled down and took steps to block them.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 1,543   +3,031
The testing is simply a way for microsoft to not be publicly crucified by doing the bare minimum.

I think is more likely they finally opened the many emails from their legal department telling them "Do you want to spend years battling anti-trust lawsuits again?" Or they maybe even received preliminary legal threats and motions about it we just didn't hear about publicly.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,014   +2,020
I don't have the numbers MS has, but they must have been in a rush to put Edge front and center like it did, because other than Chrome, no other browser is a threat. If Edge continues to improve and keep it's nose clean (the buy now pay later feature apparently isn't helping, but the security is), there is no reason Edge can't easily be the top browser within 5-10 years without force.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,966   +5,483
I don't have the numbers MS has, but they must have been in a rush to put Edge front and center like it did, because other than Chrome, no other browser is a threat. If Edge continues to improve and keep it's nose clean (the buy now pay later feature apparently isn't helping, but the security is), there is no reason Edge can't easily be the top browser within 5-10 years without force.
IMO, Edge is :poop:

That said, I've installed Waterfox G4.0.3.1 on several of my PCs recently that are running Windohs 10 and I have had no problems setting it as my default browser. If you tell Waterfox to set itself as the default, it brings up the proper settings dialog for you, and all you have to do is select Waterfox from the list, and press the apply button. Problem solved. :)
 

psycros

Posts: 3,817   +4,946
Now can we maybe get a proper search function in the default programs dialog, instead of making user choice intentionally difficult?
 

Geralt

Posts: 882   +1,341
Currently I use Chrome, but I have Firefox and Brave too. I also use Tor when I want to be fully anonymous.
 

Geralt

Posts: 882   +1,341
IMO, Edge is :poop:

That said, I've installed Waterfox G4.0.3.1 on several of my PCs recently that are running Windohs 10 and I have had no problems setting it as my default browser. If you tell Waterfox to set itself as the default, it brings up the proper settings dialog for you, and all you have to do is select Waterfox from the list, and press the apply button. Problem solved. :)
I installed Waterfox but it shows me all the time that the https websites are not https really. So I receive a warning constantly, even with Techspot. No idea what this is.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,966   +5,483
I installed Waterfox but it shows me all the time that the https websites are not https really. So I receive a warning constantly, even with Techspot. No idea what this is.
Hmmm. Interesting. Both Waterfox Classic (on my Phenom II machine even though it runs like crap on some web sites) and Waterfox G 4.0.3.1 show that TS is secure. I'm not sure what that means for you, however, I did find this - https://help.dreamhost.com/hc/en-us...ving-insecure-site-and-mixed-content-warnings
It's odd that I do not get the same indications, though.
 

Geralt

Posts: 882   +1,341

Danny101

Posts: 1,997   +830
I happily used Internet Explorer for years until it became a security nightmare, although it wasn't always great. I even used Edge Legacy to a certain extent. But it was lacking in features, so I adopted Firefox. Microsoft's behavior has prevented me from accepting Edge Chromium. If they would just compete, work on features, and stop acting like bullies, they would have a much better adoption rate.
 
It is intriguing to realize that in the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 delivered to the Dev Channel on Wednesday, we smoothed out the capacity for a Windows Insider to set the 'default program' to applications that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:, .HTM, and .HTML," said Vice President of Windows Marketing Aaron Woodman.