Windows 11 lets you choose your default browser, but it requires a lot of clicks, and Microsoft sometimes forces you to use Edge anyway. Firefox had a solution, but Microsoft calls it “inappropriate” and will block it soon.
The upcoming Windows Update will not block you from changing the default browser in Windows 11. The patch will force links using the microsoft-edge protocol to always open in Edge. These are specific links that are opened through Windows 11, such as those directly from the taskbar search function. Firefox’s solution and EdgeDeflector made it so that these links would still open in your default browser. Microsoft is rolling out an update that disables this solution and calls it “inappropriate” on Mozilla’s part
Microsoft made a statement to The Verge explaining the logic behind its decision.
“Windows is openly activating applications and services on its platform, including various web browsers,” said a spokesman for Microsoft. “At the same time, Windows also offers certain end-to-end customer experiences in both Windows 10 and Windows 11, the search experience from the taskbar is one such example of an end-to-end experience that is not designed to be redirected. When we become aware of incorrect redirection, we issue a correction. “
Firefox commented on Microsoft’s decision. “People deserve choices. They need to be able to and easily set default settings, and their choice of default browser needs to be respected,” a Mozilla spokesman said in a statement to The Verge. The Edge protocol is used for those users who have already chosen Firefox as their default browser. Following the recent change to Windows 11, this planned implementation will no longer be possible. “
As you might expect, the developer of EdgeDeflector is not thrilled, as described in a blog post. “Microsoft is not a good manager of the Windows operating system. They prioritize ads, bundleware and service subscriptions over the productivity of their users,” said developer Daniel Aleksandersen.
“The 500,000 EdgeDeflector users were probably never more than a nuisance to Microsoft,” Aleksandersen said. “Last month, however, both the Brave and Firefox web browsers either copied EdgeDeflector’s functionality or signaled that it was on the roadmap.”
We are surprised that Microsoft is approaching things this way, as a choice like this can be considered as restrictive of competition, which is an issue that the company has addressed in the past. We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out in the future, but it’s making Edge look bad, which is a shame because it’s not a terrible browser at all.