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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.
Windows build 22509 has a new browser [Set default] button. 👀 pic.twitter.com/kRDFPKfJMv— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) December 1, 2021
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.