Even if they don’t want you to, here’s how to change browsers on Windows 11

With a centered taskbar, windows with rounded corners, and a minimalist style that makes this OS feel like it belongs in 2021, Windows 11 offers an intriguing UI makeover to the platform. However, the news is not all positive. As it turns out, Microsoft apart from their Office 365 email has aggressively promoted Edge as the default browser, making it increasingly impossible to use your preferred browser. Briefly, it is a shambles. 

What’s up with Windows 11’s browser selection? 

When you first open a link after installing a third-party browser on Windows 11, a pop-up will ask you how you wish to open the link (i.e. which browser you would like to use). Because a pop-up appears on Windows 10, you may assume the process is the same — you select the browser you want, then click “OK.” 

Unless you remember to tick the easy-to-miss “Always use this app” option, every subsequent link will open in Microsoft Edge. Even if you try to use a third-party browser solely, you will never see this pop-up again. So, what’s the deal? 

Microsoft isn’t entirely anti-competitive; there is a method to make Google Chrome your default web browser, for example, but it’s not simple. Instead of having a simple choice to say “Windows, please always open my things in Google Chrome,” you’d have to select Chrome as your default for each file type, such as HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS. 

In Windows 11, things are currently done in this manner. Instead of a pop-up, most web browsers will direct you to the Default Apps area of Settings, where you may select which web browser you want to use for each file type specified (the default on each will be, of course, Microsoft Edge). Simply go to Settings > Apps > Default Apps to access this settings page. 

Verge put this new “system” to the test using Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, and Brave, and found that only Firefox was able to alter all of these parameters without having to ask you to do so. In the same article, The Verge notes worries from web browser manufacturers such as Mozilla, Vivaldi, and Opera about Microsoft’s approach to user choice. 

It’s a shame, since Edge, despite its bad press, is a fantastic browser. I assume Microsoft believes that the only way to persuade you of this is to have you use it. That is one approach to entice consumers to join, but it feels predatory. If you are looking for technical support, then you can always contact IT Consultants.  

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