XDA Basics: How to change the default browser in Windows 11
Windows 11, just like Windows 10 before it, ships with Microsoft’s own Edge browser. The latest versions of Edge are based on the Chromium project, and thanks to that, it’s become a great browser overall. Plus, it has some unique features of its own, like Collections, smart web selection, and more. But as good as it might be, Microsoft Edge isn’t for everyone, and you might want to change the default browser on Windows 11. If you’re wondering how to do it, we’re here to help with that.
Microsoft initially made it very hard to change the default browser on Windows 11, but thankfully, things have gotten a little better with recent updates. Because of that, one of the first things you may want to do is update your PC.
Install the latest updates on your PC
We’ve talked about this before, but when Windows 11 was first released, it made it much harder to change certain default apps, especially the browser. For a browser, for example, you’d have to choose the default app for each protocol or file association. However, Microsoft has released some cumulative updates over the past few months, and with them, changing browsers has become easier. As such, the first thing we recommend you do, if you haven’t yet, is make sure you’re running the latest version of Windows 11.
Specifically, you’re going to want to be on Windows 111 build number 22000.593 or higher. If you want to know what version you have installed right now, you can head into the Settings app and from the home page, scroll down to About. Click that option and expand the information under Windows information to see your build number.
If you don’t have this version yet, make sure you’re connected to the internet, go to the Windows Update section on the side menu of the Settings app. Then, click Check for updates and wait for updates to be downloaded and installed.
If there aren’t any updates, that means you’re good to go, so we can move along to the next step. If you did install any updates, you’ll have to restart your PC. It’s always recommended to keep your PC up to date, even if you don’t care about your default browser, since these updates help increase security and reliability.
Change the default browser on Windows 11
Once you’ve made sure you’re running the latest version of Windows 11, you can change your default browser relatively easily. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open the Settings app, then navigate to the Apps section and choose Default apps.
- Scroll down the list of apps to find the browser you want to use, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or whatever your preference is. You’ll need to have the browser installed on your PC already. You can search for your favorite browser on the internet to download and install it (or use the links above). In this case, we’re using Vivaldi as our default.
- Instead of opening the Settings app manually, you can also launch your preferred browser, which will probably ask you to set it as the default. This should take you to the same page.
- At the top of this page, you’ll see a button with the option to set the current app as your default browser. This will set all the standard web protocols to open in your desired browser.
- You’ll see all the required associations change to your new browser, which means you’re ready to go. You can now close the Settings app.
Note that this won’t change the browser that opens if you click a link in the Widgets panel, or if you perform a web search using the Windows search feature. These links are designed to always open in Microsoft Edge, regardless of your default browser. You’ll need to use a third-party app like MSEdgeRedirect in order to work around this limitation, but there’s always a chance Microsoft will find a way to block it from working.
Should you choose not to install the latest updates for Windows 11, or if you want specific protocols or files to open in different browsers, you can use the options on the same page to change default associations. The protocols related to web browsing are mostly HTTP and HTTPS, so you can scroll down the list to find them and choose the browser you want to open them with.
You may also want to change associations for HTM and HTML files (these are at the top of the list), or even PDF files if you want to use your browser to open them. Microsoft Edge actually has a good PDF viewer, so you might want to keep it as the default option for that even if you change your browser.
And that’s about it for all you need to know about changing your default browser on Windows 11. If you’re also interested in a new browser for your phone, maybe check out the best browsers for Android. And if you’re using a Chromium-based browser like Chrome, Vivaldi, or Edge, you might also want to check out the best browser extensions for Chrome, so you can make the most out of your time on the web.