Changing Windows 11 Default Web Browsers Will Be Annoying With Microsoft's User-Hostile Settings

microsoft edge browser hero
Microsoft hopes that Windows 11 will be its next big triumph in the desktop computing realm. Because of this, it has made tons of visual improvements along with updates under the hood to make it superior to the current-generation Windows 10 operating system.

Given the dominant grip of the operating system market that Microsoft has with Windows, it appears that it is now trying to annoyingly boost the adoption of the Microsoft Edge internet browser. According to a report from The Verge, Microsoft is making it more challenging to change the default browser in Windows 11 from Edge to your preferred choice (i.e., Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox).

windows 11 google chrome
How Default Apps greets you when attempting to change your default browser.

With Windows 10 and Windows 11, you have the option to set a third-party browser as your default the first time you open it. First, however, you must make sure that you click the "Always use this app" box to ensure that its default status "sticks," or else it will just revert to Edge. But this can be easily changed in Windows 10 by navigating to Default Apps and switching to Google Chrome, for example, from the drop-down menu for your default internet browser.

However, Microsoft is changing this behavior with Windows 11. If you forget to check the "Always use this app" at the first launch, the user faces a new convoluted process for restoring that option. You no longer have the opportunity just to choose your browser and go on with life. Windows 11 now forces you to associate all files that would typically be opened with the browser to prevent Microsoft Edge from asserting its dominance.

windows 11 before you switch
Microsoft makes one last-ditch effort to persuade you to stop.

As The Verge reports, Windows 11 requires you to associate the following files types individually with your preferred browser: HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS. We attempted to switch our default browser from Edge to the latest version of Chrome in the most recent Insider Preview build of Windows 11 and ran into the same difficulties.

Apparently, Microsoft just wants users to give up in frustration and leave Edge as the default browser. Microsoft's competitors have long expressed frustrations with how it allegedly abuses its position at the expense of smaller players in the browser space. Such actions have especially become infuriating for Mozilla, as the Chromium version of Edge quickly encroached on its position as the second most popular internet browser for PCs.

windows 11 file types
Now you have the ability to change the default browser for each file type.

Regarding Microsoft's most recent actions, "We have been increasingly worried about the trend on Windows," said Firefox SVP Selena Decklemann in a statement to The Verge. "Since Windows 10, users have had to take additional and unnecessary steps to set and retain their default browser settings. These barriers are confusing at best and seem designed to undermine a user's choice for a non-Microsoft browser."

Surprisingly enough, the Edge browser is quite good in its own right and doesn't need Microsoft to ram it down the throat of customers. Some even prefer the browser to the ever-popular Chrome due to its performance and efficiency. So why is Microsoft using such an over-the-top method that will no doubt annoy customers?

"With Windows 11, we are implementing customer feedback to customize and control defaults at a more granular level, eliminating app categories and elevating all apps to the forefront of the defaults experience, said Microsoft in a statement to PC Magazine. "As evidenced by this change, we're constantly listening and learning, and welcome customer feedback that helps shape Windows. Windows 11 will continue to evolve over time; if we learn from user experience that there are ways to make improvements, we will do so."

Maybe there's hope after all?