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Microsoft backtracks on Windows 11’s controversial default browser changes

Microsoft

Microsoft is reversing improvements to Windows 11 that made switching default browsers more onerous. Users of Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers can now set their default browser with a single button in a new preview build of Windows 11, making the procedure much easier.
The new Windows 11 improvements were found earlier this week by Rafael Rivera, the creator of the popular EarTrumpet Windows software. Rather than having to alter individual file extensions or protocol handlers for HTTP, HTTPS,.HTML, and.HTM, Windows 11 now has a simple button that, like Windows 10, allows users to switch default browsers. The adjustments were made on purpose, according to Microsoft, and are currently being tested.
“We streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the ‘default browser’ to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:,.HTM, and.HTML in the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday,” says Aaron Woodman, vice president of Windows marketing. “Through the Windows Insider Program, you’ll see us continue to attempt new things based on customer feedback and testing,” says Microsoft.
Microsoft first justified its choice to make changing defaults more onerous by saying it was “implementing customer feedback to personalize and regulate defaults at a more granular level.” Rival browser makers, however, were not pleased with the modifications, and Mozilla, Brave, and even Google’s Chrome and Android head chastised Microsoft’s approach to default programs.
While Windows 11 does presently show a prompt when a competing browser is installed, it is only activated when you click a link from outside a browser, attempt to open an HTML page, or access browser protocols and files. With a checkbox to always use this software, the prompt allows you to open a file or link in a different browser. If you fail to click the box, you’ll have to manually set up a number of features in Windows 11’s settings program.
Microsoft is still testing these new Windows 11 features that make switching default apps and browsers easier, but it’s unclear when they’ll be available to everyone. We expect these to be included in a major update to Windows 11 next year, but Microsoft hasn’t set a timeframe, and certain features and updates are already available ahead of the big annual feature drop.
Nonetheless, it’s nice to see Microsoft pay attention to criticism and input regarding its Windows 11 updates. This U-turn comes amid outrage over Microsoft Edge’s new built-in “buy now, pay later” function and the company’s efforts to discourage consumers from installing Chrome. Microsoft is reversing improvements to Windows 11 that made switching default browsers more onerous. Users of Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers can now set their default browser with a single button in a new preview build of Windows 11, making the procedure much easier.
The new Windows 11 improvements were found earlier this week by Rafael Rivera, the creator of the popular EarTrumpet Windows software. Rather than having to alter individual file extensions or protocol handlers for HTTP, HTTPS,.HTML, and.HTM, Windows 11 now has a simple button that, like Windows 10, allows users to switch default browsers. The adjustments were made on purpose, according to Microsoft, and are currently being tested.
“We streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the ‘default browser’ to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:,.HTM, and.HTML in the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday,” says Aaron Woodman, vice president of Windows marketing, in a statement to The Verge. “Through the Windows Insider Program, you’ll see us continue to attempt new things based on customer feedback and testing,” says Microsoft.
Microsoft first justified its choice to make changing defaults more onerous by saying it was “implementing customer feedback to personalize and regulate defaults at a more granular level.” Rival browser makers, however, were not pleased with the modifications, and Mozilla, Brave, and even Google’s Chrome and Android head chastised Microsoft’s approach to default programs.
While Windows 11 does presently show a prompt when a competing browser is installed, it is only activated when you click a link from outside a browser, attempt to open an HTML page, or access browser protocols and files. With a checkbox to always use this software, the prompt allows you to open a file or link in a different browser. If you fail to click the box, you’ll have to manually set up several features in Windows 11’s settings program.
Microsoft is still testing these new Windows 11 features that make switching default apps and browsers easier, but it’s unclear when they’ll be available to everyone. We expect these to be included in a major update to Windows 11 next year, but Microsoft hasn’t set a timeframe, and certain features and updates are already available ahead of the big annual feature drop.
Nonetheless, it’s nice to see Microsoft pay attention to criticism and input regarding its Windows 11 updates. This U-turn comes amid outrage over Microsoft Edge’s new built-in “buy now, pay later” function and the company’s efforts to discourage consumers from installing Chrome.

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