Microsoft would really, really like you to use Edge.
I admit, I’ve never actually done any extended browsing with Microsoft’s Edge browser. I use Chrome for work and Firefox for personal stuff, and that’s how it’s been for about as long as I can remember, well before Edge was even a thing. Microsoft makes a habit of pushing Edge when you use certain features and widgets, but for the most part, Windows backs off after you say no. Apparently, though, once Windows 11 rolls around, you might need to be a little more resolute in your refusals.
According to a report from The Verge, Microsoft is changing the way Windows 11 interacts with web links, all in an effort to sneak a little more Edge into your life. Instead of setting a single default browser for all browser-related stuff, you now need to set your default browser for all types of web links, including HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, and more. All of this needs to be done one-by-one in the default apps menu of the system settings.
Companies that own other major browsers aren’t especially happy with this direction. “We have been increasingly worried about the trend on Windows,” Selena Deckelmann, senior vice president of Firefox, told The Verge. “Since Windows 10, users have had to take additional and unnecessary steps to set and retain their default browser settings. These barriers are confusing at best and seem designed to undermine a user’s choice for a non-Microsoft browser.”
Microsoft is making it harder to switch default browsers in Windows 11. Alongside the new Widgets that ignore your default browser choice, Microsoft's browser competitors aren't happy. My report here: https://t.co/57PTPAMgRD pic.twitter.com/zozUpZpk9r
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) August 18, 2021
“Microsoft has a history of doing this, and it seems they are getting progressively worse,” a Vivaldi spokesperson told The Verge. “With every new version of Windows, it is getting harder [to change defaults]. They understand that the only way they can get people to use their browsers is to lock them in.”
Microsoft has claimed that the purpose of this is to allow for greater user customization, though they have clarified that they are listening to user feedback and will make changes if the call is great enough.