Microsoft Makes It Difficult To Switch Default Browsers In Windows 11

Microsoft has reportedly complicated the way you can change defaults in the upcoming operating system, Windows 11 making it difficult for you to replace default browsers and other applications.

According to a report in The Verge, once you install a new browser on Windows 11 and open a web link for the first time, you will get a prompt for selecting the browser as the default app. However, this prompt will appear only once.

At this stage, if you fail to tick “always use this app” to select a browser of your choice as the default app, Microsoft Edge will be automatically selected as the default browser. As a result, you will have to select default browser for each file or link type instead of a single switch in Windows 11.

“Microsoft has changed the way default apps are assigned in Windows 11, which means you now have to set defaults by file or link type instead of a single switch. In the case of Chrome, that means changing the default file type for HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS,” said The Verge.

While this move by Microsoft is looked upon to improve the position of its Edge browser in the market, other internet browser companies such as Google, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave and Firefox aren’t happy with this change.

“We have been increasingly worried about the trend on Windows. Since Windows 10, users have had to take additional and unnecessary steps to set and retain their default browser settings. These barriers are confusing at best and seem designed to undermine a user’s choice for a non-Microsoft browser,” said Selena Deckelmann, Senior Vice President of Firefox.

“It’s very unfortunate when a platform vendor is obscurifying a common use case to improve the standing of their own product. We would like to encourage all platform vendors to respect user choice and allow competition on their platforms. Taking away user choice is a step backwards,” said Krystian Kolondra, Head of Opera browsers.

In a statement to The Verge, a Vivaldi spokesperson said, “Microsoft has a history of doing this, and it seems they are getting progressively worse. With every new version of Windows, it is getting harder [to change defaults]. They understand that the only way they can get people to use their browsers is to lock them in.”

Hiroshi Lockheimer, the company’s head of Android, Chrome, and Chrome OS, took to Twitter also voice his thoughts and said, “This from the company that claims to be the most open, with ‘the most choice. I hope this is just a developer preview thing, and the shipping version of Windows 11 lives up to their claims. This is far from ‘choice.’”

“It appears that Windows 11 widgets will ignore a user’s default browser choice and open Microsoft Edge for the content instead. Brave puts users first and we condemn this Windows 11 approach, because the choice of a default browser has many implications for individuals and their privacy. Users should be free to choose,” a Brave spokesperson told to The Verge.

However, Microsoft has justified the change saying that it will allow Windows 11 users to have more control over default apps.

“With Windows 11, we are implementing customer feedback to customise and control defaults at a more granular level, eliminating app categories and elevating all apps to the forefront of the defaults experience,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement quoted by The Verge.

“As evidenced by this change, we’re constantly listening and learning, and welcome customer feedback that helps shape Windows. Windows 11 will continue to evolve over time; if we learn from user experience that there are ways to make improvements, we will do so.”

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft changes this process and continues to force Edge onto people through Windows Updates. Windows 11 is expected to roll out to the public later this year.

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Kavita Iyer
Kavita Iyer
An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly one who believes in Being Human!!!


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