Windows 11 update allows users to switch browser with the click of a button

nanoguy

Posts: 1,212   +20
Staff member
Why it matters: Microsoft has a history of peculiar decisions that brought it into hot waters with antitrust regulators, but more recently the company has proven it can listen to negative feedback and course correct when needed. Although it didn't make a big deal out of it, Microsoft has rolled out an optional Windows 11 update that makes it easy for users to switch from Microsoft Edge to their preferred web browser.

When Microsoft launched Windows 11, users were treated to the most complicated process of switching the default web browser, presumably in an attempt to keep the population of Edge users from bleeding over to alternative browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Upon installing a new browser and opening a link, you'd only be given a single chance to commit to that browser with a checkbox, which is easy to dismiss when you're just trying to get something done.

This meant that if you wanted to change the default web browser, you were forced to change the default way of opening several file types such as .html, .htm, .mhtml, .pdf, and protocols like HTTP and HTTPS. Even then, a window would pop up trying to sell you on the supposed advantages of using Microsoft's Edge web browser, suggesting you should at least give it a try before making the switch.

The Redmond company has received a lot of criticism from both users and competitors in the web browser space, and it looks like it has decided to listen to the feedback and backtrack on its decision to push Edge at all costs to the user experience. The latest set of optional cumulative updates (KB5011563) for Windows 11 contains a long list of non-security related fixes, as well as a return to the normal, one-click default browser change method.

Now when you want to change the default from Microsoft Edge to your favorite web browser, all you need to do is go to Settings —> Apps —> Default apps, select your preferred browser and you'll get a button to make it default that's featured prominently at the top of the right pane.

As this is an optional update for now, you'll need to look for it in the "Optional updates" area in Windows Update —> Advanced options.

Permalink to story.

 

psycros

Posts: 4,151   +5,791
Great, now they just need to have it work this way for ALL program types, like in Windows 7. There's still no one-click option for things like PDF viewers, word processors, spreadsheets, etc.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,703   +6,645
It exists in all previous versions of Windows... they took it away with 11.. but now it's back!
From my experience, there was a portion of time where, in Windohs 10, it was not possible to switch. What happened was that telling the browser to set itself as default did not work and even going to default apps and switching to an alternative browser was ignored. Its been there before. M$ is expert at defeaturing usability in Windohs.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,759   +7,671
Actually this is probably due to the anti-trust lawsuit they lost many years ago where they would lock you into their browser. Only lasted just under a year but once they were hit with the paperwork they quickly added the ability to change and add sites .....
 

brucek

Posts: 1,127   +1,671
I'm going to guess that behind the scenes it wasn't a regular user who spoke loudest.
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,277   +828
It exists in all previous versions of Windows... they took it away with 11.. but now it's back!
Yes what insincere BS... we have this problem every single Windows release. They do it to try grab some Edge adoption and then play the "wub wub wub sawwwyyy we didn't mean to screw your browser stuff deliberately for the 8th time"...
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,027   +724
It exists in all previous versions of Windows... they took it away with 11.. but now it's back!
No they didn't. They didn't take it away at all, they just changed it and the press/media & ill-informed people didn't understand the changes made. These changes were made back with version 22000.160 during the beta phase last August. The settings became the fine-grained controls shown above. All Microsoft did was highlight these changes to help people understand how they work. People who understand things figured out very quickly what was changed and how to make it work for them. We are/were very perplexed by all the whining, complaining and confusion.

All that's been done with this "fix" is make it a 1 button solution. But the singular options are still listed below it as they have been since the change.
 

tellmewhy

Posts: 183   +86
Maybe it would be good idea if they make an (limited or not) os version named Windows Edge and give it for free but if Edge it’s not the default browser then the desktop background should be only one color. They sell windows keys for as low as 10$ it’s not big difference. they will have around 80% that set with edge default which is something they need for feedback to the bing.
 

Darth Shiv

Posts: 2,277   +828
No they didn't. They didn't take it away at all, they just changed it and the press/media & ill-informed people didn't understand the changes made. These changes were made back with version 22000.160 during the beta phase last August. The settings became the fine-grained controls shown above. All Microsoft did was highlight these changes to help people understand how they work. People who understand things figured out very quickly what was changed and how to make it work for them. We are/were very perplexed by all the whining, complaining and confusion.

All that's been done with this "fix" is make it a 1 button solution. But the singular options are still listed below it as they have been since the change.
Forcing end users to be retrained into how to change your defaults back away from Edge is precisely the point.

The one button solution should be day DOT. If we're talking about sincerity. It's brain-dead no effort to do that. Most users are not savvy IT experts. This is very deliberate.
 

ZedRM

Posts: 1,027   +724
Forcing end users to be retrained into how to change your defaults back away from Edge is precisely the point.
We're not talking about something tedious or difficult. We're talking about settings that allow for very flexible controls. People are doing little more than whining instead of taking a few very short moments to understand the changes and how they work, as well as how they can benefit from them.

Instead of being ignorant and complaining, people need to actually LEARN..