Changing the default web browser in Windows 11 is blocked again


Ah snap, here we go again! Microsoft has, once again, shifted the goalposts when it comes to changing the default web browser in Windows 11. Users will find it harder to choose a default web browser other than Edge.

Make no mistake, Edge is a thrillingly exciting choice.

And it’s not like Redmond has completely blocked Windows 11 from registering protocol handlers altogether. It still has them in the operating system, but they are not being shown in the UI. And the settings are also ignored in the system registry.

As a result, you are limited to Edge, Edge Beta, and Edge Dev.

This has been revealed by Daniel Aleksandersen, developer of the EdgeDeflector tool, which lets you take control of the URI scheme that handles web links from within Windows 11. This is the same implementation that Mozilla has done for Firefox, as well as the Brave browser.

With this change, that came about in the release of Windows 11 build 22494 a week and a half ago, Windows now blocks third-parties from intercepting these links.

You know, the ones that go by as microsoft-edge://.

The developer has revealed that there are no non-destructive workarounds for this change at this time, and may not be unless Microsoft has a change of heart or is forced to.

That’s because browser makers have been challenging the Redmond based company for what they claim are anticompetitive measures. A Mozilla spokesperson even talked about this, confirming that its implementation for Firefox is no longer possible.

Of course, it is entirely possible that this decision could be reversed by the time the next version of Windows 11 is released to the general public sometimes towards the end of 2022.

But this is something that is bound to cause issues, both for Microsoft and its userbase.