Microsoft Retreats On Windows 11 Default Browser Behavior

Microsoft Edge
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft didn't win any new fans when it changed the default browser behavior in Windows 11. Rather than allowing Windows 11 users to change the browser defaults with a single click, they were forced to individually change default apps for HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS formats. Thankfully, app developer Rafael Riviera (via Beebom) discovered that Microsoft reversed course in Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509, which was released earlier this week.

In this preview build Microsoft has reverted to the Windows 10-style procedure, which allows users to set a default browser with a single button click. This is a welcome change and something that we feel Microsoft shouldn't have messed with in the first place. As one might expect, Microsoft sets its Edge browser as the default when installing Windows 11. But making it harder for users to change to their preferred browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox was sure to garner backlash.

For its part, Microsoft confirmed this latest move, telling The Verge, "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."

However, this isn't the only news in the ongoing war that Microsoft is waging against competing browser manufacturers. Neowin reported yesterday that Microsoft is getting a bit aggressive (with some added humor) when users try to download Google Chrome using the Edge browser. Instead of staying completely out of the way, Microsoft pelts the users with one of the following popups:

  • Microsoft Edge runs on the same technology as Chrome, with the added trust of Microsoft"
  • "I hate saving money," said no one ever. Microsoft Edge is the best browser for online shopping.
  • That browser is so 2008! Do you know what's new? Microsoft Edge.

While it is probably annoying for Windows users who simply want to quickly hop into their favorite browser and get on with life, Microsoft thankfully doesn't put up any onerous roadblocks to downloading the software.

Brandon Hill

Brandon Hill is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware. He has written about PC and Mac tech since the late 1990s with bylines at AnandTech, DailyTech, and Hot Hardware. When he is not consuming copious amounts of tech news, he can be found enjoying the NC mountains or the beach with his wife and two sons.

  • BillyBuerger
    This issue hasn't really bothered me at all. The setting of Firefox to my default browser took care of web links as far as I could tell which is the primary thing I set my default browser for. All of the other options are file type associations. Now there, Microsoft has never handled this well and Win11 does nothing really to address that. So I have my registry updates I apply to my PCs which assign all sorts of default file type associations to my applications. Not just web type files. Of course you still have to tell Windows to use the application defined in these file types as your user choice thing. But then things mostly work as I want them. I would much prefer to see them make an actual useful way to manage file types and applications and then also save/restore those associations on other PCs and such. But it's been like this since the beginning of Windows so yeah, doubt that will ever change.