Change the default web browser in Windows 11 or 10

Setting a browser other than Edge as the default browser in Windows 11 proves to be difficult. Edge is certainly a good browser, but it may not be the browser you are looking for. With the release of Windows 11, now is the time to find out how to make your favorite browser the default browser in Windows 11.

If your browser of choice is Firefox, this is simple and easy. However, if your favorite browser is chromeOperaBrave or a alternative browserit takes significantly more work to set it up as the default web browser in Windows 11.

Make Firefox the default web browser in Windows 10 and 11?

Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, weren’t happy with Windows 11 requiring people to select the default browser for each file type. So Mozilla came up with a solution. It also works in Windows 10.

  1. Download and install Firefox† There is no particular version of Firefox for Windows 11. Whatever the Mozilla website gives when you click download firefox will work.
  2. When Firefox is opened after installation, it will go through an installation wizard. The second choice in the installation process is to: Make Firefox your default† Select the Make Default Browser knob.

That is it. Firefox is now the default browser for .htm and .html file types and links starting with http and https. Continue with the rest of the Firefox configuration.

How to make other browsers the default browser in Windows 10 and 11?

  1. Download and install the desired web browser. For this example, that’s Chrome. Go through the Make Chrome your own method. At the end, Chrome presents a link to Set as Default† Selecting this will open Windows Settings Default apps

If a browser other than Chrome is installed, open the default apps manually. Select the Get started menu and start typing default apps† The best result should be Default apps† Select it.

Follow the steps below for: Windows 11† Scroll down for Windows 10 instructions.

  1. In Standard apps, scroll down to chromeor the name of the browser you just installed, and select it.
  1. In the new window, the best choice is the .htm file type. Select the bar style button below it to change the default browser for that file type.
  1. The Before you switch popup opens. This is Microsoft offering a last minute opportunity to stick with Edge. Select Switch anyway to continue changing the default browser.
  1. In the next pop-up, select the desired browser and then select Okay to set it as the default for the file type. Continue this process to open all desired file types and link types with the new default browser.

Note that when the default browser is changed for the HTTP link type, Windows automatically changes it for the HTTPS link type.

Follow these steps for: Windows 10

  1. In Default apps, scroll down to web browser† Select Microsoft Edge
  1. In the Choose an app menu that opens, select Google Chromeor the name of the browser you just installed, and select it.
  1. The Before you switch popup opens. This is Microsoft offering a last minute opportunity to stick with Edge. Select Switch anyway to continue changing the default browser.

The default browser has now been changed.

Change the default browser for news and search in Windows 11

In Windows 11, Search and the News widget will continue to use Edge as the default browser after changing the default browser for everything else. There is no way to change this in the Default apps menu. Instead, use the free EdgeDeflector app to change the default browser for Search and News.

  1. Download and install EdgeDeflector† Let it install in the default location it chooses.
  1. Open Default apps in Windows Settings and scroll to EdgeDeflector† Select it.
  1. Select the Microsoft Edge option, then in the How do you want to open it? Window, select EdgeDeflectorand then select Okay
  1. Test to make sure it worked by opening the Start menu and searching for something like online technical tips† Select a web result and it will open in Chrome or whatever you have set as the current default browser.

How to make Edge the default browser in Windows 10 or 11

If you don’t want Chrome or any other browser as the default, Microsoft makes it easy to switch back to Edge as the default browser.

  1. Open the Edge browser. Type in the location bar edge://settings/defaultBrowser
  1. At the top of the page that opens is the section default browser, and directly below that is the option to Make Microsoft Edge your default browser† Select the Make Default knob.

Nothing seems to happen except that the option changes in Microsoft Edge are your default browser and the Make Default button is grayed out.

Will this all change?

Changing browsers in Windows 10 is just like it always has been, but it’s completely different in Windows 11. Will it stay that way? Will other browsers include the same kind of default browser mechanism that Firefox has?

As Windows 11 is being rolled out globally, don’t expect the process to change. However, Google and other browser providers will certainly include a standard browser mechanism like Firefox. Whatever makes it easier to make their browser the default is in their best interest.

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