Microsoft has been stirring controversy with the way it handles Microsoft Edge as the default browser on Windows 11. There’s no surprise that Edge is the default on the OS, but Microsoft has been making it increasingly hard to choose an alternative. Now, the company is backtracking on those policies.
As we reported in August, Microsoft was burying the process to switch default browsers on Windows 11 behind a more complex system. Previously, users had one chance to see browser alternatives before Windows hid them away.
Unless you choose “always use this app” this time, the browser will not become default. Ok, this is the same as normal, but changing a default on Windows 10 was relatively easy. 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, the process has been more complex. Instead of as toggle like “always use this app” or “always open with this program”, Microsoft is changing app default. 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.
Windows build 22509 has a new browser [Set default] button. 👀 pic.twitter.com/kRDFPKfJMv
— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) December 1, 2021
In the new Windows 11 Insider Preview build 22509, Microsoft has made changes to simplify the process. In the build, Microsoft is backtracking to make it easier for users to set another browser as a default with a single button. In other words, back to the way Windows 10 handled the process and removing the need to have individual file extension protocols.
Speaking to The Verge, Microsoft vice president of Windows marketing, Aaron Woodman confirmd the changes:
“In the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday, we streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the ‘default browser’ to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:, .HTM, and .HTML. Through the Windows Insider Program you will continue to see us try new things based on customer feedback and testing.”
Tip of the day: It’s a good idea to backup your computer on a regular basis, and the most fool-proof way is to manually create a disk image and save it to an external hard drive.