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Windows 11 does not allow any easy way to change the default browser

Currently being tested in Insider builds, time will tell if it hits the public release.

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With the release of Windows 11, Microsoft seems to have slipped back into its old, bad habits of making it hard for you to use any web browser other than its own, Microsoft Edge.

There was a workaround, EdgeDeflector, but the creator of this tool has said that something in the latest Insider build of Windows 11 now blocks the workaround.

That’s bad for consumers, making it impossible to use any of their preferred web browsers for, at least some, tasks in Windows 11.

Those include Widgets in Windows 11, search result links in the Start menu, or links sent to the Windows 11 computer by paired Samsung or Android devices, which are coded to use the microsoft-edge:// link-format, instead of the industry-standard of https://.

EdgeDetector’s creator also says that those are used by other Microsoft apps, and are used by the Windows shell, as well.

The existence of those special links seems to have only one purpose – promoting a Microsoft product, Edge, at the expense of any other program or user preferences. The last time Microsoft did something sketchy with a web browser, regulators in both the U.S. and the EU brought anti-trust suits over Microsoft’s abuse of its dominant position to stifle other web browsers.

The U.S. eventually decided to not take action, but the EU’s ruling ended up with Microsoft having to hide shortcuts to Internet Explorer and to show every EU customer a “browser ballot screen” to choose their preferred browser at first install.

While this is still only an issue in the Insider builds of Windows 11, that’s the first stage for them to appear in the public builds that most Windows users are running. Maybe if we make enough noise, Microsoft will reverse the course of this terribly, monopolistic decision and stop making it so damn hard for users to use the web browser they want to.

If not, there are always governmental regulators. I’m fairly sure the European Commission could use most of the text from its last lawsuit.

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