Looks like the good old folks over at Mozilla are fed up with Microsoft and its policy of making it more difficult for Windows users to change the defaults in the operating system.
The modern versions of the OS that be, Windows 10 and Windows 11.
Long story short, the approach is to make the whole process even harder than before and making users jump through extra hoops to set up their default choices. Not just web browsers, but the process is just as cumbersome for other file and media formats as well.
Clearly tired of the antics from the Redmond based company, Mozilla has now decided to forcefully bypass the software titan altogether.
As it turns out, Firefox 91, which was released on August 10, now allows you to change the default web browser directly from within the program itself. Instead of, you know, guiding users to the Settings app in Windows.
This new process is essentially a product of reverse engineering Microsoft’s own one-click process for Edge and making it work for Firefox. It does not require user interaction beyond a single confirmation click, which what many believe should always be the case.
A Mozilla spokesperson said:
“People should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults, but they don’t. All operating systems should offer official developer support for default status so people can easily set their apps as default. Since that hasn’t happened on Windows 10 and 11, Firefox relies on other aspects of the Windows environment to give people an experience similar to what Windows provides to Edge when users choose Firefox to be their default browser.”
Saying it straight!
To Microsoft’s credit, the original change was actually a byproduct of the security measures that are in place in the operating system. The reason why Windows prevent apps from being able to set themselves as default is to protect users from attackers that could trick people into downloading an innocent app.
And, you know, having it set itself as default for certain processes and tasks.
Microsoft, obviously, is not supporting this aggressive move from Mozilla, and has cautioned that this methodology to circumvent the anti-hijacking protections baked into the operating system against malware is not a supported method.
No matter the philosophy, this little hack from Mozilla could well give other browser vendors an incentive to push for similar changes.