Changing the default browser in Windows 11 is a mess, and third-party developers are not happy
Internet Explorer (IE) is the default browser in Windows, and there are many reasons why this is a bad thing for users, including privacy concerns (IE tracks too much user data) and security concerns (IE has been found to be vulnerable to cyber attacks).
Yes, Microsoft’s new Windows 10 operating system does come with the option to rid yourself of the default Internet Explorer browser that has graced the desktop for years. But, unlike with Windows 7, you can’t choose to keep it elsewhere. Instead, it forces you to use Microsoft Edge—and it’s a doozy. The browser is slow, has few of the classic IE elements like tabs, and the security options are limited. Even if you stick with it, Edge only lets you pin sites to the Start menu, not add new favorites. If you want to use Chrome, Edge won’t let you do a custom search, and you can’t pin Chrome tabs to the desktop.
There’s a lot of talk about Windows 11’s default browser, Edge. Microsoft has already confirmed that Edge will be the new default browser for Windows 10 users. But there’s been a lot of confusion about why Edge is getting this much attention—and it’s because of the way Edge is being installed.
We addressed a subject that will annoy millions of people once Windows 11 is released to the public later this year in one of our articles on Winaero: “How to change the default browser in Windows 11.” Windows 10 has a history of dubious tactics like as changing default applications and pushing users to use Microsoft Edge. In Windows 11, Microsoft removes an easy method to change the default browser, thus eliminating the nuisance. Naturally, not everyone is pleased with the move.
Apart from ordinary users being irritated by the necessity to change the default browser for tens of various online file formats, third-party browser developers have expressed their displeasure with Microsoft’s anti-competitive measures in Windows 11.
The Verge received comments from Mozilla, Vivaldi, Opera, Brave, and Google on the situation. Here’s what Mozilla had to say:
“We’ve been becoming more concerned about the Windows tendency. Users have had to take extra, needless steps to establish and maintain their default browser settings since Windows 10. These obstacles are at best perplexing, and they seem to be intended to discourage users from using non-Microsoft browsers.”
Microsoft’s artificial lock-ins, according to Vivaldi’s spokesman, are the only way to persuade users to use its browser (Edge).
“Microsoft has a history of doing this, and it seems that they are just getting worse. It becomes more difficult with each new version of Windows. They realize that locking people out of their browsers is the only way to get them to utilize it.”
Although Opera is not as outspoken as Vivaldi, it does publicly oppose Microsoft’s dubious tactics in Windows 11:
“It’s terrible when a platform provider hides a popular use case in order to boost the visibility of their own product. All platform suppliers should respect customer choice and enable competition on their platforms, according to us. Taking away the user’s ability to choose is a step backward.”
Finally, here’s what Google’s president of Android, Chrome, and Chrome OS, Hiroshi Lockheimer, had to say about it:
“This from a business that professes to be the most open, with “the most options.” I’m hoping this is simply a developer preview issue and that the final version of Windows 11 delivers on its promises. This isn’t exactly “choice.”
Another issue with Windows 11 is that even after changing the default browser, the operating system ignores the user’s preferences. New widgets in Windows 11 open their content only in Microsoft Edge, independent of the chosen browser. Neither consumers nor developers are pleased with this. According to a representative for Brave,
“Windows 11 widgets seem to disregard the user’s preferred browser preference and instead open Microsoft Edge to view information. Brave prioritizes people, and we oppose Windows 11’s approach since the default browser has significant consequences for individuals’ privacy. Users should be able to make their own decisions.”
Although the general release of Windows 11 is still a few months away, there is still optimism that Microsoft will listen to consumers and developers. Currently, the business claims it had no intention of harming rivals. Rather, it attempts to give users greater “granular control” over default applications.
“With Windows 11, we’re incorporating user feedback to personalize and manage defaults at a more granular level, removing app categories and putting all applications front and center in the defaults experience. We’re always listening and learning, as demonstrated by this update, and we encourage consumer input that helps develop Windows. Windows 11 will continue to develop over time, and if we learn from user feedback that there are improvements to be made, we will make them.”
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The Windows default browser has been Internet Explorer for a long time, and if you want to change the default browser in Windows 10, you have to go through a lengthy process of downloading a program, running it, and then switching the default. Now Microsoft has taken the update process — which involves opening a dialog box, initially — to a whole new level.. Read more about winaero tweaker review and let us know what you think.
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