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Windows 11 will finally respect your default browser — in Europe

Microsoft Edge appears on a computer screen with plants and a window in the background.
Alan Truly / Digital Trends

Microsoft makes it easy to change the default browser in Windows 11. That’s important if you require special features specific to one of the many web browsers that are available on a PC. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple to be rid of Edge entirely.

Microsoft Edge will still load to open some other file types. When opening a link from Windows Settings or other system components, the webpage will load in Edge. That’s now about to change, however, according to a recent Windows blog post.

The notes on the latest version of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23531 (Dev Channel) indicate a different behavior in the European Economic Area (EEA). Windows system components will open links in the default browser. If you’ve chosen Google Chrome as your system preference, for example, Windows will respect your choice, but only if you live in the EEA.

It’s not that Microsoft Edge is a bad browser, but you should have a right to choose. Microsoft has been busily adding tons of new features, including the Bing sidebar that lets you access Bing Chat for some assistance without interrupting your normal browser flow.

Edge runs on the same Chromium browser base code as Google Chrome and can even use Chrome extensions. Bookmarks are easy to import, so the transition is pretty painless.

Despite Microsoft’s efforts to replace Internet Explorer with the much faster and better Edge browser, there are good reasons to look elsewhere. The list of Windows web browsers is quite long and there are plenty of excellent alternatives to Microsoft Edge.

Hopefully, Microsoft will bring this upcoming change to everyone and fully respect people’s choice for a default web browser. If it’s restricted to the EEA, it’s probably mandated by law. Even if there isn’t a legal requirement, Microsoft should let you decide which browser you want to use for every link.

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Alan Truly
Computing Writer
Alan is a Computing Writer living in Nova Scotia, Canada. A tech-enthusiast since his youth, Alan stays current on what is…
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