How to change your default browser in Windows 11

If you’ve updated your PC from Windows 10 to Windows 11, you may have noticed that when you click on a link for a website, PDF document, or a variety of other file types, you’re now taken to Microsoft’s Edge browser. sent . In the new version of Windows, Microsoft seems to have become particularly aggressive in pushing its own apps over the apps that were installed as default before the upgrade. In other words, Edge suddenly became your default browser.

Normally the non-Edge browser will ask if you want to make it the default instead the first time you go to another browser that isn’t Edge, say Google Chrome. However, the process for changing your default settings in Windows 11 has become more complicated than it was in Windows 10. So you may not get that handy request – or if you do, you may end up on a complicated-looking page App > Default apps† Anyway, here’s how to switch.

Switch default browser

If you don’t want Edge to be your default browser and your preferred browser doesn’t offer to make the change for you, or if it did offer but instead redirect you to the Default apps page mentioned above — here’s how to change the default. For this example, I’m using Google Chrome, but this should work with any browser you have installed on your system.

  • Select Settings > Apps > Default apps
  • below Set application defaultsscroll down to where your preferred browser appears or type its name in the Search apps field. Click on the app.

Hopefully there will be a button at the top of your browser's list

Hopefully at the top of your browser’s list is a “Set Default” button.

  • At the top of the list you will hopefully see a line that says To make [browser name] your default browser and to the right of it a button labeled Set default† Press the button.
  • Several browser-related file types are listed below, under a subheading that reads: Set default file types or link types† When you click on the Set default button, some – but not necessarily all – will switch from Edge to your favorite browser.

The

The “Set Default” switches important file types to your browser. You can also set them individually.

  • Look for the file types assigned to Edge, such as .HTM, .HTML, HTTP, HTTPS, and maybe .PDF (unless you have another PDF reader you prefer). Click on something that hasn’t changed that you still want to change.
  • Please note that there may be certain file types that your browser does not offer as an alternative.

You can change any file type for a suitable installed app.

You can change any file type for a suitable installed app.

Note: When it first shipped, Windows 11 made it much harder to change default browsers; depending on the browser you prefer, switching may even be easier than this. For example, even as this was being written, the first time I opened Firefox, it asked if I wanted it to be the default. I just let it go, and when I got to the… Default apps section of the installation, I found that Firefox was now set as the default for .HTM, .HTML, .HTTP, and .HTTPS files.

Firefox's default wizard disables some - but not all - of the browser's file settings.

Firefox’s default wizard disables some – but not all – of the browser’s file settings.

That won’t solve everything

But wait – there’s more. Even after changing your browser default to something other than Edge, you still get Edge as the browser of choice for a number of Windows apps. For example, open Windows 11’s new Widgets window (by clicking on the Widgets icon in your taskbar, the one that looks like a two-pane window) and click on one of the news items that appear there – and the link will open Side .

If you find that annoying, there might be an app for that. To open Edge-specific links, you need to do the following:

  • Go to Settings > Apps > Default apps
  • Scroll down until you see Choose default settings by link type
  • Click on that and then in the search box labeled Set default settings for link typestype Side
  • under the label Microsoft-Edgeyou will see (a bit redundant) Microsoft Edge† Click that and you’ll see all the other browsers you can use to open those specialized links.

Interestingly, if you install Chrome or Firefox, you won’t see them as choices. But if you install the Brave browser, shall think of it as an option – and if you select that, every time you click a news link in the Widget window, it will appear in Brave.

You can set the Brave browser to open widget links.

You can set the Brave browser to open widget links.

Another possibility is a tool called EdgeDeflector which was originally created to intercept all links in Windows 10 that were Edge-specific and rewrite them on the fly so that they can be opened by the default web browser. I did some looking around and read that the latest version, v1.2.3.0, would work with Windows 11.

I have installed and followed the installation instructions† Unfortunately, that worked for most links, but when I clicked on a link from the news sources in the Widgets panel, it didn’t quite work – the link opened in Chrome, but none of the images came through. I would keep an eye on this app…

Update Apr 15, 10:23 AM ET: This article was originally published on October 8, 2021 and has since been updated to include instructions on how to allow the Brave browser to open certain specialized Windows links, to add a note about Microsoft blocking EdgeDeflector, and to make changes in the process of switching browsers display default settings.

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