Never should have changed

Windows 11 makes it easy (again) to change the default browser

Microsoft listens to feedbacks and adds an easy option to switch default browsers on Windows 11.

Windows 11 new default browser option
  • Windows 11 includes a new option to change the default browser quickly.
  • The “Set default” button is available starting with build 22509 in the Dev Channel.
  • The option will make it easier for users to make Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers their system default.
  • It’s unclear when the option will be available to everyone.

Microsoft is testing a new option on Windows 11 to make Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Brave, Opera, and other browsers the default browsing experience much more straightforward. Although on Windows 10, users were able to change their default browser with a few clicks easily, on Windows 11, the company made it harder to switch default browsers and ignored the user’s preference in many areas of the experience.

See also this hands-on video showcasing the new setting at the Pureinfotech YouTube channel.

However, it appears that this is about to change in future updates. Starting with the Insider preview build 22509 of the active development of Windows 11, the “Default apps” settings page now includes a new “Set default” option to switch from Microsoft Edge to any other browser with one click.

When you use the option, the system makes the new browser the default for .htm, .html, HTTP, and HTTPS, which are the primary protocols to access the web. However, it’s not perfect since Microsoft Edge will continue to be the default for other protocols, including .pdf, .svg, .xhtml, and FTP.

This is a welcome addition that signals that the company is listening to users. The new change was spotted by Rafael Rivera (@withinrafael), who posted the screenshots of the new option on Twitter, and the comments are mostly good about this change.

Windows 11 set default browser button
Windows 11 set default browser button

While adding the option to make it easier to switch the default browser is good news, Microsoft is using other tactics to try and prevent users from switching browsers. For example, Neowin reported that the company is showing a prompt when users open the Chrome download page to discourage users from downloading and installing another browser and luring them to continue using Microsoft Edge.

Some of the messages read: “Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft,” “That browser is so 2008! Do you know what’s new? Microsoft Edge,” and “‘I hate saving money,’ said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping.”

The messages will appear for Windows 11 users and those who run Windows 10, and these are not simple prompts. This is a feature built into the browser itself, which is different from the messages that Google shows that usually appear when browsing one of their pages.

Furthermore, the new changes appeared after the company began rolling out a new controversial feature to its browser known as “Buy Now, Pay Later.” The service provided by ZIP offers short-term financial assistance to allow shoppers to make purchases immediately and then pay them in installments over time.

Although on paper it looks like a convenient feature, it’s not something that everyone wants since getting into borrowing money services is risky and could eventually be problematic whether you pay on time or not. In addition to this problem, it’s an unnecessary feature that only adds more bloat to Microsoft Edge.