Microsoft blocks Edge redirect tool in Windows 11, but there’s another option
Microsoft’s attempts to force Windows users to make Edge their default browser have been somewhat questionable. Since relatively early on in the life of Windows 10, links from Windows search and Cortana were directed to Edge, which is still happening today. This has become even more prominent with Windows 11, as links in the Widgets pane are also designed to direct users to use Edge instead of their default browser. One way to fight against this is a tool called EdgeDeflector, which handles these custom links in place of Edge on Windows 10 and 11, redirecting them to the user’s default browser.
However, with Windows 11 build 22494, released last week on November 3rd, Microsoft began blocking EdgeDeflector. As reported by users on the GitHub repository for the app, redirecting links to the default browser no longer works with this build. The developer of EdgeDeflector chimed in confirming that Microsoft made some breaking changes and that there aren’t any “non-destructive” workarounds at this time.
Thankfully, another developer – Robert Maehl – has designed their own Edge redirect tool to account for this change. Simply called MSEdgeRedirect, this new app takes a new approach to the problem. Instead of handling the microsoft-edge:// protocol like EdgeDeflector does, Maehl says this new tool “filters and passes the command line arguments of Microsoft Edge processes into your default browser”. The developer also notes that this should provide resilience against future updates, so Microsoft can’t easily block this one from working.
It’s a simple .exe file, and as long as the program is running, any links that would usually only open in Edge on Windows 11 (or 10) will be redirected to your default browser. You can also set the program to start with Windows 11, so it’s always redirecting links to the right browser without you having to run the program every time. If you’re interested, you can download MSEdgeRedirect using the link below.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first sneaky move Microsoft makes to push users towards the Edge browser with Windows 11. The company notably made it much harder to change default browsers in Windows 11, prompting Mozilla to work around this change by reverse-engineering the operating system and setting Firefox as the default browser with any hassle. Hopefully, the company is listening to its fans and goes back to giving users more freedom of choice.