Microsoft backtracks on Windows 11’s controversial default browser changes

From The Verge: Microsoft is backtracking on changes it made to Windows 11 that made it more difficult to switch default browsers. A new test build of Windows 11 now allows users of Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers to set a default browser with a single button, which is a far simpler process.

Rafael Rivera, developer of the excellent EarTrumpet Windows app, discovered the new Windows 11 changes earlier this week. Instead of having to change individual file extensions or protocol handlers for HTTP, HTTPS, .HTML, and .HTM, Windows 11 now offers a simple button that lets people switch default browsers in a similar way to Windows 10.

Microsoft has confirmed the changes are intentional and are currently being tested. “In the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22509 released to the Dev Channel on Wednesday, we streamlined the ability for a Windows Insider to set the ‘default browser’ to apps that register for HTTP:, HTTPS:, .HTM, and .HTML,” explains Aaron Woodman, vice president of Windows marketing, in a statement to The Verge. “Through the Windows Insider Program you will continue to see us try new things based on customer feedback and testing.”

Microsoft originally defended its decision to make it more difficult to switch defaults, telling The Verge earlier this year that it was “implementing customer feedback to customize and control defaults at a more granular level.” Rival browser makers weren’t happy with the changes, however, and Mozilla, Brave, and even Google’s head of Chrome and Android criticized Microsoft’s approach to default apps.

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