Windows 11's "Glow" desktop background.
Microsoft

Windows 11 comes with Microsoft Edge, and Microsoft really doesn’t want you using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or anything else as your default web browser. Sure, you can still change your default browser—if you want to jump through some extra hoops.

Microsoft Could Change This, But…

Sure, Microsoft may change this process and make it easier—but Microsoft may not change it, or it may take some serious outcry before Microsoft changes course.

So, just in case you haven’t gone hands-on with the Windows 11 Insider Preview yet, we’ll show you how it works. This is current as of Insider Build 22000.100, which was released on July 22, 2021.

RELATED: Windows 11: What's New In Microsoft's New OS

How to Change Your Default Browser on Windows 11

On Windows 11, like on Windows 10, web browsers aren’t allowed to change your default browser for you. You have to go into the new Settings app and do it yourself.

But, on Windows 10, changing your default browser just takes a few clicks. On Windows 11, it takes quite a few more clicks.

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To change your default browser, you head to Settings > Apps > Default Apps. (Like on Windows 10, you can press Windows+i to open the Settings window.) You will have to find your preferred web browser in the “Set defaults for applications” list here. Click or tap it to continue.

Select Settings > Apps > Default Apps and find your web browser of choice.

After you do, you’ll see a long list of file types and protocols the browser supports, most of which will already be associated with Microsoft Edge. This list includes HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, HTTP, HTTPS, and MAILTO.

Click or tap each web browser file type.

You must click each of these options, select your preferred web browser, and click “OK.”

Select a new default browser and click "OK."

When you click many of these links, Windows 11 will implore you to check out Edge first. You’ll have to click “Switch Anyway” to continue.

Click "Switch anyway."

After all these clicks, you’ll have a new default web browser. We hope you don’t want to undo that change, as that will take quite a few more clicks!

“It’s Just a Beta”

Some people will say we’re being too critical. After all, this is just a beta. Microsoft could fix this before the final release!

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But Microsoft hasn’t said whether this is an issue that will be fixed. Web browsers are big business, and a change that makes it harder for people to select a different browser will encourage more people to use Edge and help increase Microsoft’s profits.

After all, Microsoft already doesn’t respect your default web browser choice in many situations. Take a look at Windows 10’s “News and interests” widget, also known as the weather widget. It uses Microsoft Edge no matter what.

Edge Is Actually Good Now

Hopefully, Microsoft will see the light and make this more user-friendly before release. Edge is already a pretty good browser now that Microsoft is sharing most of the underlying code with Google Chrome.

Microsoft Edge should try to succeed on its own merits—not because it’s really annoying to switch and Windows often ignores your default choice anyway.

RELATED: What You Need to Know About the New Microsoft Edge Browser

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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