Microsoft Still Pushing Edge Browser Hard

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has confirmed it is blocking third party tools designed to overcome several ways it pushes people towards the Edge browser. It affects tools such as EdgeDeflector which works on Windows 10 and 11.

The tools take aim at the way Windows and some built-in Microsoft applications use links to web pages. Rather than simply linking to a page address, they start with "microsoft-edge://" and open automatically in the Edge browser. This overrides the user's chosen default browser for opening web link.

Once Edge opens with the page in question, it also displays a request to set Edge as the default browser. Critics say this could confuse users who either agree by mistake or assume there's an important reason to switch (beyond Microsoft wanting to boost its user numbers).

Firefox Adopted Tool

Examples of such links are in the search tool in the Start Menu for Windows 10 and 11, the new Widgets feature in Windows 11 that displays links to pages such as news articles on websites, and in links which the user automatically send from their phone to open on the computer later.

An independent developer made an application called EdgeDeflector that simply turns the special links into ordinary web links that open in the user's chosen browser as normal.

The developer believes Microsoft was willing to tolerate his application as it only had around 500,000 users. However, the developers of the Brave and Firefox browsers began work to provide users with a similar function, which would have affected a lot more people. (Source:

Microsoft Defiant

Microsoft has now taken a simple step to stop such tools working. EdgeDeflector worked by setting itself as the "default protocol handler" for "microsoft-edge://" and, rather than opening the link, converted it into a regular web page link. Microsoft has now altered Windows 11 so that Edge is the only tool that can act as the default protocol handler.

It told The Verge that:

"Windows openly enables applications and services on its platform, including various web browsers. At the same time, Windows also offers certain end-to-end customer experiences in both Windows 10 and Windows 11. The search experience from the taskbar is one such example of an end-to-end experience that is not designed to be redirected. When we become aware of improper redirection, we issue a fix." (Source:

The move has proved controversial to say the least. Microsoft has previously been caught up in lengthy courtroom battles over the way it ties its own browser (previously Internet Explorer) to the Windows operating system. In this case there doesn't seem any clear functionality or security reason why third-party browsers shouldn't open web links, so it appears to be a case of Microsoft doing something simply because it can.

What's Your Opinion?

Is this a big deal? Should Microsoft have complete control over how Windows interacts with browsers? Do you want to use Edge and do you feel pressured to do so by Microsoft?

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Draq's picture

Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen. This is pretty anti-competitive behavior to say the least. It's also a bit of a middle finger to users who may want to use a different browser and expect Windows to respect their choices.

philipreeves46's picture

I do not want to use Edge. I use Chrome. I will not upgrade to Windows 11 because of the high handed way Microsoft forces me to do it, even though one of my computers is eligible. Only when I have to buy a new computer will I use Windows 11. by then maybe some court will make Microsoft come to its senses. Do I feel pressured by Microsoft. You bet.

boydboyd01_15423's picture

I use some apps and/or websites that will not connect with the MS browser. They've opted to use Chrome instead citing connectivity issues with MS. If I'm restricted to only using MS browser then I'll fail to access important information.

topgum's picture

Microsoft is a schoolyard bully that will get its due in court AGAIN

beach.boui's picture

Sounds like it's time to just remove Edge from the system. Instructions for this are not hard to find. Who'da thunk... Chrome itself is a massive spyware, data collection application for the Google data mining operation, and Microsoft just managed to make it even worse.

Viva la resistance!

JeffRL's picture

Approx two years ago, I started having problems opening some webpages. They belonged to major corporations and some government agencies and when I reported the problems to their webmasters, the standard reply 100% of the time was "switch to Chrome", even before I told them what browser I was using. It got to the point where I would ask them if they were getting a commission from Google for every download of Chrome they pushed on people. You'd think I'd accused them of being serial killers who ate childrens' pet rabbits with ivory forks. The reaction was always so over the top that I think I may have been onto something. There had to be some arrangement in their favour to use and prefer Chrome, whether by optimising their site for it or in some other way.

So I'm not surprised that Microsoft is fighting back. I just wonder what took them so long.

gmthomas44_4203's picture

How hard is it to switch to some form of Linux for a non-computer savvy person??