It’s now easier to change the default browser in Windows 11
Microsoft is making it easier for users to change their default browser on Windows 11, after the initial release infamously made it harder to stop using Microsoft’s own Edge browser. The change was rolled out with Windows 11 build 22000.593, which was made available to everyone yesterday as an optional update.
In its initial release, Windows 11 made some baffling changes to the way app associations work. Instead of being able to set a general default for tasks like web browsing or playing media, you now have to set associations for each protocol manually. That means you have to change the associations for HTTP and HTTPS protocols, plus things like HTML files if you want to open them with your default browser. This made the process much more tedious for end users.
With the latest update, if you go into the default apps page (Settings -> Apps -> Default apps) and you select a browser from the app list, such as Google Chrome or Vivaldi, you’ll now see an option at the top of the Settings page that lets you set it as your default browser. This will change all the web browsing-related associations to that browser in one go, so you don’t have to go through the trouble of doing it for each file type or protocol.
Microsoft had begun testing this change with Insiders in the Dev channel back in December, and it wasn’t immediately clear how it would be rolled out, but it looks like you won’t have to wait for a big feature update. It’s certainly a welcome change, considering the initial approach forced browser vendors like Mozilla to circumvent Microsoft’s guidelines in order to make it easier for users to change their default browser.
If you want to be able to change your default browser right now, all you need to do is check for updates in the Windows 11 Settings app (in the Windows Update section) and download install update KB5011563, which is an optional update. If you’d rather wait a little longer, this change should also be included in next month’s Patch Tuesday, which will be on April 12th. That will be a mandatory update, so that’s when most users will likely get it.