Windows 11 really wants you to use Microsoft Edge for some features

Windows 11 Edge browser

The latest version of Microsoft Edge is really good and it’s
better than browsers like Google Chrome, but it doesn’t mean
everyone will begin using it over Chrome or Firefox. You can
easily change your default browser in Windows 10 or even
Windows 11, but features like Windows Search or Windows Widget
will completely ignore your third-party preferences.

Right now, if you change your default browser to Chrome or
Firefox and try to open links from native apps, it is likely
that the link will open in Edge instead. That’s because certain
Windows features use a URL prefix “microsoft-edge:” to redirect
the OS to open the link in Microsoft Edge, even if you’ve
Firefox/Chrome set as the default.

This applies to features like Windows Widgets, Windows Search,
Microsoft Store or some other native apps within the operating
system. Some users and critics consider this experience jarring
and it can be particularly annoying if your default preference
is ignored when opening certain links.

Windows 11 widgets
Example of links that will open only in Microsoft Edge

Fortunately, a third-party app called “EdgeDeflector” allows
users to open links in their default browser instead of
Microsoft Edge. It bypasses Microsoft’s internal settings and
redirects Windows links to open in Chrome, Firefox or any other
browser.

For example, if you open the Windows widget and click on a news
item, the link will open in your regular browser.

Microsoft takes down Windows 11’s Edge workaround

Microsoft appears to be getting aggressive about its Edge
policy and it has taken steps to force the browser in Windows
11 for certain tasks, whether users like it or not.

Since the release of
Windows 11 KB5008215 (Build 22000.376), it is no longer
possible to open links in a third-party browser of your choice.
The operating system has been modified to block methods used by
apps like EdgeDeflector.

This move could annoy some users, as many of them use Google
Chrome or a third-party browser as their default browser.

In a statement, Microsoft officials highlighted the release
notes of November 2021’s optional cumulative updates. As per
the release notes, Microsoft has fixed an issue where the
operating system could be improperly redirected when
“microsoft-edge: links are invoked”.

“Addresses an issue that might improperly redirect OS
functionality when you invoke microsoft-edge: links,” the
changelog
reads.

As expected, this change is now also included in the security
or mandatory update for Windows 11. That’s because the Patch
Tuesday update includes all the fixes from the previous
optional and security updates.

It’s important to understand that the tech giant won’t force
all web links to open in Microsoft Edge. This change only
affects certain links within its own products.

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