Microsoft Edge is the default browser on Windows, as you would expect considering it is Microsoft's own platform. However, the company gives users the choice to switch to other default browsers, among them Mozilla Firefox. We recently reported how switching to another default browser (or any program) will become more difficult on Windows 11.
To overcome Microsoft's various paths to change the default, Mozilla has quietly made some changes. The company is making it easier for users to switch permanently to Firefox. The changes will work on Windows 11, as well as Windows 10.
With the release of version 91 of Firefox, Mozilla included a method for setting the browser as default in Windows. In fact, this was a clever bit of reverse engineering, taking Microsoft's one-click default choice for Edge and applying it to Firefox.
In other words, it is now possible to set Firefox as the default from directly within the browser.
“People should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults, but they don't,” Mozilla tells The Verge. “All operating systems should offer official developer support for default status so people can easily set their apps as default. Since that hasn't happened on Windows 10 and 11, Firefox relies on other aspects of the Windows environment to give people an experience similar to what Windows provides to Edge when users choose Firefox to be their default browser.”
Windows 11 Changes
With the launch of Windows 11 next month, making non-Microsoft apps default will be more difficult.
On Windows 11, users get just one chance to see and select browser alternatives before Microsoft hides them Specifically, like on Windows 10 when you open a web link for the first time, or install a new browser, the platform gives you the opportunity to select it as default.
Unless you choose “always use this app” this first time, the browser will not become default. Sure, this is the same as normal, and equal to Windows 10. Users simply could right click a file, web link, app, or shortcut and choose the “open with” option and then “always use this app”.
On Windows 11, this process is different and more confusing. Instead of a catch all toggle like “always use this app” or “always open with this program”, Microsoft is changing app defaults. The company will now force users to set defaults for every link type or file. Yes, instead of a universal toggle, you have to work through each format like HTML, PDF, SVG, HTTPS, etc.
For example, to set Mozilla Firefox as the default browser, you will need to change the default across 11 individual file types. Of course, this is an overly complex process with the only explanation being Microsoft is trying to make it harder for users to choose other browsers.
Tip of the day: Did you know that your data and privacy might be at risk if you run Windows 10 without encryption? A bootable USB with a live-linux distribution is often just enough to gain access to all of your files.
If you want to change that, check out our detailed BitLocker guide where we show you how to turn on encryption for your system disk or any other drive you might be using in your computer.