This is how the change of browsers is managed in Windows 11

The selection of browsers in Windows 11 has been one of the controversial issues of the operating system. According to Microsoft, the changes compared to Windows 10 allow the use of different browsers for each type of extension and protocol and thus offer greater customization and flexibility. For competitors and a part of users, it is a monopolistic technique that hinders the use of alternatives and the user’s free choice, seeking only to promote their own Edge browser.

The issue may seem minor, but it is not and has been about to cause another “browser war”. In Windows 8.1 and earlier, when you installed an alternative web browser to Internet Explorer, the software offered to set it as the default, and if you chose, that was all you had to do. In Windows 10, programs cannot be made default automatically, including browsers, but selection is still easy from the menu present in the Settings tool.

For Windows 11 Microsoft has made relevant changes, as it is necessary make this choice for each type of extension and protocol associated with the browser (HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, HTTPS…). It’s interesting, but very few users use it and in practice the vast majority don’t bother with its complexity and will continue to use the default browser, which is none other than Edge.

Remember that Microsoft also blocked the application EdgeDeflector that counteracted the behavioral changes that Microsoft made to the way that Windows handle mouse clicks on certain web links from some Windows componentsanother controversy that has not yet been resolved and that is part of a general Microsoft strategy of taking advantage of the immense market share of Windows to improve the share of its own developments compared to third parties.

How to change browsers in Windows 11

To calm the waters, Microsoft promised to make some changes that it has been testing in the Insider channel. This week, the Redmond firm published a cumulative update for Windows 11 (KB5012592) that, in addition to other security functions, makes it easier for any user to change browsers, since for the first time is available for stable version. We leave you the complete process.

To install the update:

  • If you don’t have automatic updates turned on, go to Settings > Windows Update and check for updates.

  • There you will see the Cumulative Update for Windows 11 (KB5012592).
  • Download and install.

browsers in Windows 11

Once you restart the computer you will be able to make the change. The selection of browsers in Windows 11 it is simpler than the cumbersome previous process and is done as follows:

  • Press the hotkeys “Win ​​+ I” to access the Settings tool.

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  • Navigate to Apps > Default apps > Set app defaults.
  • There you can type the name of any alternative browser you have installed, select it from the list and set it as default.

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It must be said that the change is made at the click of a button and affects the main Web extensions such as .html, .htm, .http and .https.

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Nevertheless, not possible this way change the defaults for all related extensions, and Edge will remain the default app for opening PDF, SHTML, SVG, FTP, and other web-related files, unless you manually change all file associations one by one.

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Windows components and links

Another pending issue that has not yet been resolved. We refer to the behavior of the system when you click on some Windows components such as Widgets. That has not changed and inexorably use Edge by default even if you have selected Chrome or others as default browser. And it is that, at the moment, only Microsoft Edge can handle the ‘microsoft-edge:// protocol’ and third-party applications are not allowed to do so.

The change with the KB5012592 update is a step forward for those who want an easier and more transparent change of browsers in Windows 11, but It does not seem that it will be the definitive solution. Competitors like Mozilla, Brave or Vivaldi are not satisfied and are asking for something similar to the browser choice window that Microsoft already had to implement when regulators threatened sanctions. The case comes from very far, from the launch of Windows 95 that Microsoft took advantage of to promote Internet Explorer against the rest of its competitors and that could have cost it dearly after a legal battle that is still remembered.

For our part we insist. Microsoft Edge is a great browser (the best ever produced by Microsoft) and to increase its adoption rate you don’t need tricks, dark patterns or any non-transparent techniques one of those used by Microsoft and not only to gain an advantage in browsers. As you see it? Do you think the changes implemented to facilitate the selection of browsers in Windows 11 are enough? Should switching all web protocols be allowed with one click? Is it better to select them one by one to have maximum customization?


Source: MuyComputer by www.muycomputer.com.

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