In order to change the default Windows 11 browser, there’s an unexpected amount of hoops Microsoft expects users to jump through. In Windows 10, if a user wanted to change their default browser to Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, it was only a matter of selecting the default in the beginning and forgetting about it. When it comes to Windows 11, selecting and forgetting about it is far more complicated.
Windows 11 is currently available as a beta for users part of the Windows Insider Program – a free program for people wanting to take the latest features for a test drive. The new iteration of Windows brings a lot of improvements both on the surface and under the hood. For instance, a complete UI change has taken place to offer a modern experience throughout the entirety of Windows. These changes make the PC experience easier, for the most part.
If not given more than a second of attention, selecting a default browser can cause some unnecessary issues down the road. When a user clicks a web link, Windows 11 will ask how the user wants to open the link, similar to Windows 10. Normally, there is a check box at the bottom labeled “Always use this app” and if that box isn’t checked, the link will only be opened once with the selected browser and all future instances opening in Microsoft Edge. With Windows 11, the user needs to set the default browser for each file type, as pointed out by The Verge, and will need to head to the settings in order to set the default browser for each type after the fact. For instance, a user may be prompted to keep Chrome as their default for HTML files, but if they open a PDF at a later time, they’ll be prompted again. This is contrary to how Windows 10 operated where after a default browser was selected when opening a file type and all others would follow the same default. In both instances, if the user didn’t select “Always use this app” then Edge would stay the default. This change makes things far more complicated as the default is set for each file type and not overall.
In order to change these defaults at a later time, the user needs to follow a couple of steps. From the Settings menu, find “Apps” and then click on “Default Apps” before scrolling to the browser that should be the default. Click that browser and then go through the page and change the types that will be used the most, or all of the types listed on the page. Windows 10 allows the user to select a default based on category, automatically adjusting all of these link types to open with the browser of the user’s choice. If needed, the user could also change the default individually by link or file type, too. This isn’t a case of giving the user more freedom, but rather making it harder to set it and forget it. Unfortunately, it looks like Microsoft is trying to push Edge in any way it can.
This may change in the future, however. For example, Firefox has already found a way around the issue, allowing the user to change the default without diving deep into the settings. Not to mention, Windows 11 has not left its beta status yet and become widely available. Therefore, there is always the possibility that Microsoft will respond to user or competing browser complaints and change the way the default selection currently works in Windows 11. Either way, changing Windows 11 default browsers is still possible and relatively simple, albeit more tedious.
Source: The Verge