How to Change Your Web Browser in Windows 11 (Hint: It’s Not Easy)


If you’re getting began on a contemporary set up of Windows 11, you would possibly discover an important change: Setting your default browser is now extra difficult than it was in Windows 10. Microsoft is no stranger to browser controversies, and it has now positioned complicated hurdles in your path if you would like to use something aside from its relatively unpopular Edge browser.

In Windows 10, setting a brand new default internet browser was easy sufficient. When you put in a brand new browser, like Google Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox, the app would immediate you to set it as your default and open the Settings app the place you might achieve this with a few clicks. You might additionally search in your Settings for “Default apps,” click on “Web browser,” and select the browser you need.

Now, issues are completely different. And relying on what sort of Windows system you could have, there is likely to be additional limitations. Here are the steps to altering your browser:

First, Disable S Mode (If It’s Enabled)

Some Windows units ship in one thing Microsoft is asking S Mode. This is a extra locked-down model of Windows the place you may solely set up apps by way of the Microsoft Store, can not use command line instruments, and Microsoft instruments like Edge and Bing aren’t simply the default, they’re the one possibility.

Microsoft advertises this mode as safer and steady than the choice, and that’s technically true. Malware you obtain from the web can’t run in this mode, for instance. But it’s very limiting, and if you would like to change your browser, you’ll want to flip it off. You can do that by going to the Microsoft Store and looking for “S Mode,” the place you’ll see a list that can stroll you thru the method.

Distressingly, you may’t flip S Mode again on, so be certain that is what you need to do. S Mode is right if you would like to use your laptop or pill in a locked-down, iPhone-like expertise. But if you would like to change your default browser or set up many kinds of software program, you’ll have to go away S Mode for good.

Next, Change the Browser Default for All File Types

Now it will get bizarre. In the previous, there was one possibility for altering the default internet browser. But below the hood, that truly refers to opening a number of sorts of recordsdata or hyperlinks. If you’ve ever had a PDF file open in Edge as a substitute of Chrome, for instance, you’ve seen how the default browser might be completely different relying on what sort of file you attempt to open.

Rather than making this conduct extra constant throughout all hyperlink and file sorts, Windows 11 merely asks the consumer to decide a default for each single one. This course of is extraordinarily tedious. 

Photograph: Eric Ravenscraft

To change the default, comply with these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and navigate to Apps > Default Apps. (If your browser prompts you to change your default setting, it could direct you right here robotically.)
  2. Search for the identify of the browser you need to set as your default in the listing of apps and choose it.
  3. You’ll see a listing of file or hyperlink sorts together with http, https, ftp, htm, html, shtml, pdf, and extra.
  4. Click every file or hyperlink sort you need to open with one thing aside from Edge, choose your new browser from the listing that pops up, and click on OK.
  5. If you get a immediate asking you to take a look at Edge earlier than you turn, click on “Switch anyway.”

This course of might be annoying and tedious, however as soon as all of your defaults are set to your new browser, you shouldn’t have to return to it. 



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