How to change the default web browser in Windows 11

Arif Bacchus

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There are a lot of things that are different about Windows 11 in its current beta state. When compared to Windows 10, the design has changed, and so have a few of the stock apps. One change that is quite controversial recently has to do with changing the default web browser. Microsoft has (so far) removed the ability in Windows 11 to switch browsers with one click, although you can still change file associations to set a default browser.

This was recently covered by The Verge’s Tom Warren who notes that Microsoft is making it harder to switch default web browsers in the next-generation operating system.

But is that actually the case? We’ll let you be the judge, so follow along with us as we look at how you can change the default web browser in Windows 11.

Just keep in mind though, that our guide is subject to change. Windows 11 is currently in beta and isn’t final. The steps we mention here might change, and we’ll do our best to keep the guide updated.

Changing the default to Google Chrome

One of the biggest reasons people will want to change the default web browser is to swap from using Edge to Chrome. If you missed your initial chance via the one-time-only “always use this app” button that you get when you install Chrome in Windows 11, here’s how you can permanently swap to Chrome over Edge.

Again, there is a big change here in Windows 11 compared to Windows 10. Rather than visit a single app defaults settings page and use a big button to click to change the default web browser, you’ll need to individually change the default for each kind of web link or file type. You can see the change in our slider above, but here’s a look at how.

Step 1: Open Google Chrome and click on the settings page

Step 2: Choose Default Browser on the sidebar

Step 3: Click the Make Default button

Step 4: In the settings page that opens up, and search for Google Chome in the Search Apps box

Step 5: Click the link to the right of the box, and select Google Chrome. Change every one of the default file types or link types from Microsoft Edge to Google Chrome.

In Microsoft’s fairness, the most commonly used web types and links are right upfront for you to change. These include .htm and .html. You can swap these are you see fit. When finished, just close out of the web browser, and you’re good.

Changing to a different web browser

Windows 11

If Google Chrome isn’t your web browser of choice, then the steps to change the default web browser might be different for you. Follow our directions below for more on how you can change this.

Step 1: Open the Windows 11 Settings App

Step 2: Click the Apps link in the sidebar

Step 3: Click the Default apps subsection on the right

Step 4: Under where it says set defaults for applications search for your web browser in the list

Step 5: Click on the web browser name

Step 6: Change every file type or link type in the list so it has your browser name instead of Microsoft Edge.

Possible changes to come?

The reaction to these settings changes has been very mixed and there’s currently a thread in the Windows 11 Feedback hub with over 600 upvotes about this. Spokespersons for other web browsers have also been slamming Microsoft’s new way of changing the default web browser. Microsoft, however, says that it is “constantly listening and learning, and welcome customer feedback that helps shape Windows.” That said, there is hope things might change soon.