Microsoft finally makes it easier to switch default browsers in Windows 11

Windows 11 and Windows 11 displayed on two different laptops
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Microsoft is releasing an update this week that will allow users to switch their default browser in Windows 11 with a single click.

The change was first revealed in December when the tech giant began testing the feature in response to criticism from rival browser providers.

Windows 11, which launched last year, didn't offer a simplified way to switch the default browser, a feature that was always available on Windows 10. Instead, users had to change individual file extensions or protocol handlers for HTTP, HTTPS, HTML and HTM. The only other option was to tick a checkbox that appeared once when the user clicks a link from outside the browser.

Microsoft was initially resistant to the complaints, defending its decision to implement a more complex switching method, but companies like Mozilla, Brave and even Google Chrome made it clear that they didn't agree with the approach Microsoft had taken.

In August last year, Firefox senior VP Selena Deckelmann told IT Pro that Microsoft had put confusing barriers in place that "at best and seem designed to undermine a user's choice for a non-Microsoft browser".

That has now finally changed with the latest update; users can simply head into the default apps section and search for their preferred browser. From there a new button will appear asking if they would like to make that browser the default. That takes all that work with file handlers and condenses it into a single click, which should please users and rival providers.

Since its launch in October, Microsoft has added more and more changes through regular updates and insider builds. The firm has used both to listen to and respond to user feedback and make swift changes to its flagship OS. However, there is likely to be more on the horizon as the tech giant has a Windows 11 Hybrid work event on 5 April, where new features could be unveiled.

Bobby Hellard

Bobby Hellard is ITPro's Reviews Editor and has worked on CloudPro and ChannelPro since 2018. In his time at ITPro, Bobby has covered stories for all the major technology companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook, and regularly attends industry-leading events such as AWS Re:Invent and Google Cloud Next.

Bobby mainly covers hardware reviews, but you will also recognize him as the face of many of our video reviews of laptops and smartphones.