Windows 11 Makes Browser Switching Easier

John Lister's picture

Microsoft has gone ahead with plans to make it easier to change the browser in Windows 11. It means an end to a heavily criticized policy that made it more frustrating to use something other than Microsoft's own Edge browser.

In recent versions of Windows, users could set a rival browser as the default option in Windows relatively easily. Once set, Windows would then use the chosen browser automatically for relevant tasks such as opening a link or a saved web page.

In Windows 10, users could set a different browser for every type of file or connection type an app could use, for example .htm vs .html or insecure vs secure websites. However, switching the default browser switched all of these settings at once.

Windows 11 changed this and required users to manually change each setting to their preferred browser. That was an obvious deterrent to anyone who either didn't want to spend the time doing so, or didn't realize what was happening with the different settings.

Optional Update Only

The good news is that, following successful testing in the Windows Insider program, Microsoft has now switched Windows 11 to a "one click changes all" format when it comes to default browsers. (Source:

The bad news is that the change won't automatically roll out to all users now. Instead it's part of an optional update. Users can find and install it in the Windows Update section of the Settings app, listed as KB5011563.

Once that update is in place, uses can simply visit the Settings app's "Default Apps" section, click on their chosen browser, and click on "Make [app name] your default browser." (Source:

Browser Settings Controversial

It's not clear yet if the change will eventually come to all users through the automatic updates. It's possible it may be part of the next major Windows 11 update, expected in the fall.

Why Microsoft continued to make it harder for users to switch default browsers in the first place is also unclear. While it obviously has a vested interest in people using Edge (and Internet Explorer before it), the relationship between Microsoft's browser and Microsoft's operating system has caused numerous problems with regulators who object to Microsoft "unfairly" promoting or favoring its own products.

What's Your Opinion?

Have you changed the default browser in Windows 11? Is Microsoft right to make this change? Should it roll out the change to all users rather than it being an optional update only?

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