Microsoft Relents, Makes It Easier to Switch Your Default Browser in Windows 11

Microsoft Relents, Makes It Easier to Switch Your Default Browser in Windows 11
Photo: NOEL CELIS / Contributor, Getty Images

After early reports confirmed that Windows 11 would include an even more labyrinthine process for switching your default browser than the one required in previous versions, the company has seemingly reversed course, now allowing users to switch browsers with the click of a single button.

Back in August, a number of outlets reported on Microsoft’s diabolical plan to ensure that users’ attempts to set anything but Edge as their browser were all but foiled. The process initially involved an early setup prompt that appeared when users were first installing a new browser that necessitated toggling an “always use this app,” switch, or risk having to go through a convoluted multi-step process later if they wanted to use Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Vivaldi, or others.

The decision was an unprovoked act of aggression in the browser wars — one that users and developers alike were none too pleased about. But now Microsoft appears to have changed course, confirming to The Verge that the new browser changes, first spotted by EarTrumpet Windows app developer Rafael Rivera, are indeed real and currently being tested.

“In the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday, we streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the ‘default browser’ to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:, .HTM, and .HTML,” Aaron Woodman, vice president of Windows marketing, told The Verge. “Through the Windows Insider Program you will continue to see us try new things based on customer feedback and testing.”

While the app and browser switches are currently being tested, there’s no word yet on when they’ll officially become available to the thousands of users who are still apparently pretty steamed about Microsoft’s determination to undermine their preferences and limit their ability to stray outside of the company’s own ecosystem. It’s an anticompetitive world out there and Microsoft really tried it.