Microsoft will make it easier to change default browser in Windows 11

Microsoft Edge webpage from an angle
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Microsoft has backtracked on plans that made it more difficult to switch their default browser in Windows 11.

The company has introduced a button to set the default browser in the latest developer build of the operating system that will make it easier for people to use alternative browsers to its own Edge product.

Microsoft had changed the way that people set default browsers in Windows 11. Windows 10 included an easy option to change the default browser. It also presented a prompt that appeared when they opened an alternative browser, enabling them to set it as the default.

In Windows 11, that prompt appears only once when a user opens a newly installed browser for the first time. Unless the user remembers to select "always use this app" as an option, it won't be selected as a default and the operating system doesn't prompt them again.

In earlier builds of Windows 11, users had to change the default browser manually using a more difficult process than before. Now, they must select the default application to open particular file types. Because browsers can open multiple file types, including .htm and .html files, PDFs, SVG and others, this means manually setting multiple file types.

Microsoft appears to have rethought its process after public criticism. The Verge reported on a tweet by Windows application developer Rafael Rivera which confirmed a button that enables users to set the default browser in Windows build 22509.


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The build, released to the Dev channel this week, allows the user to set the default browser for HTTP, HTTPS, HTML and HTM files with a single option.

The latest Edge developments come after Microsoft last month introduced a default extension that enables people to use credit when buying products in Edge. The company rolled out the Zip buy-now-pay-later service in the browser, even for merchants that didn't ask for it. They would have to contact Microsoft to switch it off for their customers, Microsoft said.

Danny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury has been a print journalist specialising in technology since 1989 and a freelance writer since 1994. He has written for national publications on both sides of the Atlantic and has won awards for his investigative cybersecurity journalism work and his arts and culture writing. 

Danny writes about many different technology issues for audiences ranging from consumers through to software developers and CIOs. He also ghostwrites articles for many C-suite business executives in the technology sector and has worked as a presenter for multiple webinars and podcasts.