Windows 11 will make it harder to switch from Microsoft Edge to an alternative browser

nanoguy

Posts: 903   +12
Staff member
Why it matters: Earlier this year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said during an interview that Windows 11 is designed to offer "the most choice." However, a recent preview build suggests otherwise. The company is changing the way app defaults are set in Windows in a way that has sparked criticism from browser makers, after it became clear that Microsoft is effectively complicating browser choice.

Since launching its Chromium-based Edge browser, Microsoft has been trying hard to push it onto Windows 10 users through various methods. It has set it as the default after large Windows updates, given "tips" on how to switch to its one and only "recommended" browser, and even pushed full-screen ads within the out-of-box experience when you set up a new Windows 10 PC.

When the Redmond giant announced Windows 11, it made an excellent first impression, but it was relatively short-lived. The company eventually explained that you'd need TPM to run it, and Windows 10 users will have to wait until next year to receive it as a free upgrade. Then it quickly became apparent that you'll need a relatively new CPU to run it, a requirement that may or may not be relaxed upon release.

If these annoyances weren't enough, it looks like Microsoft is also making sure you won't be able to easily avoid its web browser in this next-gen version of Windows. In Windows 10, switching to an alternative like Firefox or any of the other Chromium-based browsers such as Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave is as easy as installing it and then going to Settings -> Apps -> Default Apps and setting it as default. Most browsers will also ask you if you want to make them the default upon installation.

Microsoft is changing how you set app defaults in Windows 11 to the point where you'll have to be very careful, or you'll miss your only easy chance to switch to a different web browser. Right after installing an alternative browser and opening a web link, users are presented with the option to select a preferred browser and a box telling Windows to "always use this app."

That latter part is crucial, as omitting this step will effectively set Edge as the default app not only for web links, but also for .pdf, .svg, and several other file types. This will make life harder for many users (especially the non-tech savvy ones among us), but Microsoft told The Verge this move is the result of customer feedback. That said, the company also recognizes the potential backlash that could ensue, so it's ready to "make improvements" if it learns that users don't like how these changes work.

As expected, the competition in the web browser space is disappointed by the move, but they also aren't completely surprised by it. Mozilla sees it as a trend that's been going on for years, and other browser makers believe Microsoft is once again using Windows to shoehorn users into using first-party apps. As for Google's take on this, senior vice president of Chrome, Android, Chrome OS, Play, and Photos says he hopes these changes won't make it into the final version of Windows 11.

Permalink to story.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,383   +4,709
Because of customer feedback. Yeah, right. :facepalm: IMO, the feedback was probably one or both of, its a PITA to set the default browser (despite what the article says about the experience on Windohs 10) or the feedback is that Edge is not that universally acceptable - especially to the more technically savvy users who realize that it is just more Windohs spyware.
 

Geralt

Posts: 559   +781
Now, I will investigate if there is a way to remove Edge for good from my Windows 10 installation. If there is nothing yet, someone will invent it. This is the consequence for being a company which all the time tries to cheat their users. Fed up with MS mentality.

Edit: I couldn't do it directly because MS stopped me. I had to use Revo Uninstaller Pro to remove that clone crap of Chrome. Easy thing! When I have Windows 11 in the future, I will do the same thing. Backslash!
 
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p51d007

Posts: 2,828   +2,180
Didn't MS get in trouble in the 90's for some of this crap? Now they are doing it again.
Oh, but THEN they didn't have any lobbyist on K street in DC. Now they have a lot of
lobbyist on K street, funneling money to politicians I bet. ;)

I'm sure someone will come up with an app to undo all of this you do it our way or nothing.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,558   +4,336
Linux gaming support should be pretty good by the time Windows 10 support is ended, time to drop M$ for good.

Until AMD and Nvidia step up I doubt that day will ever come. And then you've got the fact that everything is still more complicated on Linux compared to Windows..a true non-technical distro still doesn't exist IMO. I'm quite technical and I still couldn't get a working AMD driver installed for Linux. Maybe if the Steam Deck does well Valve will actually work at making SteamOS accessible to the masses. Right now it doesn't even have an ISO. Also..

"When the Redmond giant announced Windows 11, it made an excellent first impression, but it was relatively short-lived."

Excellent with whom? Its easier on the eyes but that's literally its only positive trait. I never saw anyone saying they were eager to upgrade.
 
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JohnSmithESP

Posts: 64   +32
Until AMD and Nvidia step up I doubt that day will ever come. And then you've got the fact that everything is still more complicated on Linux compared to Windows..a true non-technical distro still doesn't exist IMO. I'm quite technical and I still couldn't get a working AMD driver installed for Linux. Maybe if the Steam Deck does well Valve will actually work at making SteamOS accessible to the masses. Right now it doesn't even have an ISO.
Check Zorin OS, because with the tour guide and some other stuff it's pretty much plug and play, not Manjaro-tweakthings-plug&play, like real
At least en Zorin 16 beta, haven't tried 15
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 940   +1,733
Well, it's a good thing they also made it harder to update to in the first place so we don't have to care.

But in all seriousness, if you look at the recent story of Firefox having it's days counted now due to low usage and considering Edge is basically just Chrome, this will probably kill it off and establish Google as the only game in town except for maybe Safari.
 

Geralt

Posts: 559   +781
Didn't MS get in trouble in the 90's for some of this crap? Now they are doing it again.
Oh, but THEN they didn't have any lobbyist on K street in DC. Now they have a lot of
lobbyist on K street, funneling money to politicians I bet. ;)

I'm sure someone will come up with an app to undo all of this you do it our way or nothing.
Yes, in 1997, if my memory serves me well: Internet Explorer vs. Netscape. They are cheaters.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,166   +6,922
Didn't MS get in trouble in the 90's for some of this crap? Now they are doing it again.
Oh, but THEN they didn't have any lobbyist on K street in DC. Now they have a lot of
lobbyist on K street, funneling money to politicians I bet. ;)

I'm sure someone will come up with an app to undo all of this you do it our way or nothing.

Yep, you hit it on the nose and I think we'll see the same this time around too. I set up one of my computers for linux awhile back and it turns out to be a great move. Also bought a copy of Zorin OS and it's pretty good as well. Hard to say for sure but it's starting to look like Microsoft is getting themselves on the ropes and if they don't improve soon we could live long enough to see them fold or be bought out.
 

eforce

Posts: 386   +493
Until AMD and Nvidia step up I doubt that day will ever come. And then you've got the fact that everything is still more complicated on Linux compared to Windows..a true non-technical distro still doesn't exist IMO. I'm quite technical and I still couldn't get a working AMD driver installed for Linux. Maybe if the Steam Deck does well Valve will actually work at making SteamOS accessible to the masses. Right now it doesn't even have an ISO. Also..

"When the Redmond giant announced Windows 11, it made an excellent first impression, but it was relatively short-lived."

Excellent with whom? Its easier on the eyes but that's literally its only positive trait. I never saw anyone saying they were eager to upgrade.
PopOS distro supports pretty much all latest cards out of the box having both Nvidia and non-Nvidia (AMD/Intel) ISO's, the only issue at the moment is EAC not working via Wine emulation but apparently that's in the works then almost all games will work.
 

brucek

Posts: 856   +1,232
Didn't MS get in trouble in the 90's for some of this crap? Now they are doing it again.
Oh, but THEN they didn't have any lobbyist on K street in DC. Now they have a lot of
lobbyist on K street, funneling money to politicians I bet. ;)

I'm sure someone will come up with an app to undo all of this you do it our way or nothing.
Yes they did, and I thought the choose-your-own approaches since then were the result of negotiated settlements with US, EU, and likely other regulatory agencies. Lobbyists on K street will only get them so far. But my guess is they believe these changes still fall within the letter if not the spirit of those settlements, and perhaps even more importantly, they are a lot less clear of a monopoly now then they were back then (which was pre-iPhone, pre-Android, pre-tablets, etc.) And it also may not hurt that some of the parties most likely to complain are not any more sympathetic (I.e. Google, Apple, etc.)
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 820   +728
The EU will already be preparing another round of massive fines for Micro$oft. D!ck move and why I will wait for the sh!t storm to develop and for MS to backtrack on a lot of stupid decisions in the future. Then I may just install Windows 11.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 341   +524
Difficult to feel bad for Chrome when it constantly bombards us with messages to Get Chrome when we visit google sites using any other browser, even resort to underhanded script changes to make sites don't work/display properly with other browsers and even slows down youtube on other browsers. Cry me a river, Chrome.
 

pcnthuziast

Posts: 1,145   +857
Bill Gates is the quintessential soulless corporate tyrant. I am a gamer first and do very little else on the PC so admittedly I am essentially a Windows gamer. In other words, I use Windows in order to use direct x as fluidly and natively as possible. Though I can't say for sure whether I will ever use 11, this is just 1 more reason that gives me pause to seriously consider other options.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,794   +3,908
Until AMD and Nvidia step up I doubt that day will ever come. And then you've got the fact that everything is still more complicated on Linux compared to Windows..a true non-technical distro still doesn't exist IMO. I'm quite technical and I still couldn't get a working AMD driver installed for Linux. Maybe if the Steam Deck does well Valve will actually work at making SteamOS accessible to the masses. Right now it doesn't even have an ISO. Also..

"When the Redmond giant announced Windows 11, it made an excellent first impression, but it was relatively short-lived."

Excellent with whom? Its easier on the eyes but that's literally its only positive trait. I never saw anyone saying they were eager to upgrade.
The only reason I boot into windows now is when an online game's DRM doesn't play well with Linux. My favorite distro is Mint, you should check it out. The Linux community often makes fun of Mint users because of how easy it is to use.

 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 218   +145
"Settings -> Apps -> Default Apps and setting it as default" Is that so difficult it worth writing a whole article about it? Is Win 11 even out yet?
 

Bobbydpue

Posts: 218   +145
Bill Gates is the quintessential soulless corporate tyrant. I am a gamer first and do very little else on the PC so admittedly I am essentially a Windows gamer. In other words, I use Windows in order to use direct x as fluidly and natively as possible. Though I can't say for sure whether I will ever use 11, this is just 1 more reason that gives me pause to seriously consider other options.
Bill Gates hasn't made decisions for Microsoft products since 2008. Your use of the phrase "quintessential soulless corporate tyrant" makes me think you are the type to exaggerate everything and not look up any objective data before forming an opinion. The guy has been giving out piles of money to charities. Bill Gates and his wife have given over $36 Billion to initiatives aimed at eradicating infectious diseases and reducing poverty. Whether he is a genuinely good or bad person is up for people who actually know him to form opinions on and not for those of us who only know about him from what the media has told the public.