Microsoft had previously warned that it would no longer allow app developers to invoke microsoft-edge protocol links, and now the company has acted. The latest cumulative update for Windows 11 now blocks apps like Edge Deflector, essentially making it very hard to avoid using Edge in Windows 11 for core system features.
Delivered in KB5008215, the patch removes the Edge Deflector choice in Windows 11 and also appears to hide it at the system level when trying to run a website via the Run prompt. However, there's a new workaround that's yet to be removed by Microsoft. MSEdgeRedirect, a new open-source tool, uses the command line to redirect Edge processes into a default web browser.
Yet, the catch is that the app has to always be in the background to work. Neowin also reports that the app is blocked by Microsoft SmartScreen, but you can still choose to run it anyway if you want.
It's been a bit of a tough road for Microsoft these past few weeks with the Edge browser. Even though Edge is gaining in popularity, and is built on the same engine as Google Chrome, there's quite a bit of controversy around it. Microsoft blocking Edge Deflector and making it hard to choose another default browser are two sides of the story. Then, the "buy now pay later" integration with Zip is another. The company, though, is testing a change in Windows 11 Insider build 22509. This release added a new option for setting a browser as the default browser in the Default apps section of the Settings app, although apps like the News or Weather widgets will still open links in Edge.