Windows 11 has made it more difficult to change your default internet browser, which is a potential pain in the posterior for PC owners.
Installing a new operating system can sometimes feel like moving house; you’ve got to make so many little changes before the place truly feels like home. One of those early adjustments is choosing your new default browser – but with Windows 11, you’ll find it more difficult to change it if you don’t set it right on your first startup.
Microsoft is making it harder to switch default browsers in Windows 11. Alongside the new Widgets that ignore your default browser choice, Microsoft's browser competitors aren't happy. My report here: https://t.co/57PTPAMgRD pic.twitter.com/zozUpZpk9r— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) August 18, 2021
The Verge has reported that rather than just changing your default browser for all file types as just one click, Windows 11 currently insists that users must select which browser they’d prefer for each applicable file type, which can be a long list indeed; for Google Chrome, that amounts to HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS.
The cynical interpretation of this set-up is that it could catch out users who don’t remember to set their default browser to an alternative during the start-up process and are therefore stuck with Microsoft’s own Edge browser unless they go through the more laborious process of changing all of their preferences.
On top of that, widgets will employ Microsoft Edge regardless of your selected browser preference, just as they did with Windows 10.
Naturally, Microsoft’s competitors aren’t too pleased about this change as it could be seen to impede user’s preferences. Reacting to the discovery, Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer (Senior Vice President of Android, Chrome, and Chrome OS) had a strong response: “This from the company that claims to be the most open, with ‘the most choice.’ I hope this is just a developer preview thing, and the shipping version of Windows 11 lives up to their claims. This is far from choice.'”
We’ll just have to wait and see if Windows 11 rolls back these changes with the full version of the software, which is due for wide release later this year.