While browsing through your newly updated Windows 11, you may have noticed that some of the system's links launch in Microsoft Edge, even if you set Chrome or Firefox to your default browser. If you’re confused about what’s happening, you’re not the only one.
You'll notice this happen more often when you launch a link in one of Windows 11's apps. For example, clicking an article in the "News and Interests" widget always launches itself in Microsoft’s browser, and not whichever browser you've set as the default for websites.
But why is this happening? Let's dive in and have a closer look.
Defeating Edge's Greatest Rival, EdgeDeflector
For a long time, Google Chrome was recognized as Edge’s main opponent. However, in recent months, EdgeDeflector has since become Edge's number one rival.
EdgeDeflector is a third-party interface that forces Windows to use the user's default browser when opening links. As such, it has become a big hit amongst Windows 11 users who are sick of links opening in Microsoft Edge.
EdgeDeflector works by identifying the microsoft-edge:// URL in the original Windows 11 link. It then switches URL to an https:// link, which allows the webpage to open in the system’s default browser.
However, Microsoft has since blocked EdgeDeflector from working. This update prevents the Deflector from redirecting web applications and changing the microsoft-edge protocol.
The block first appeared in an early Windows 11 Preview Build, where it was first thought of as a bug that would eventually be fixed. However, that wasn't the case. Microsoft has since confirmed that it will restrict app developers from tampering with the microsoft-edge protocol links in an update. As such, all of Windows 11's links will use microsoft-edge:// and open within Edge.
This news has also been confirmed by the developer of EdgeDeflector, Daniel Aleksandersen, on his CTRL Blog. He seconded that with the latest EdgeDeflector disabling feature, users will not be able to prevent launching web pages in Microsoft Edge.
He shed some light on alternative third-party apps that can be used, however, it is likely they will end up harming systems and do more harm than good.
Microsoft’s Attempt to Establish Edge’s Dominion Over Other Browsers
In the recent Windows 11 update, users are also no longer be notified with the error message “An app default was reset.” The system will completely ignore the user’s selected registry for browsing applications and use the registry for Microsoft Edge protocol instead.
As such, Microsoft is now demanding that the users use Microsoft Edge, even if a said user tries to scrub the browser off of their computer. When a user attempts to force Windows to use their favored internet browser, the system will now show a void UWP window with an error notification
The Future of EdgeDeflector
Regardless of the deactivation of its operations by Microsoft, users can still install EdgeDeflector... just not its latest version. The latter will only be possible if Microsoft goes back on its patch and re-enables the ability to change Windows 11's internal link URLs.
Despite this, there are still other ways people can use to prevent the forceful launching of Microsoft Edge, but as mentioned above, it is likely to cast adverse impacts on their system.
A Case for Microsoft Edge
Despite all the developer's expectations over the users, the popularity of Microsoft Edge has not been as per their expectations. To keep it from being overshadowed by Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and other rivals, Microsoft's finally decided to take matters in its own hands.
What the company isn't realizing is that Windows 11's strict rulings are coming off as unimpressive and unjustified to its users. If something isn't done to remedy the situation, Microsoft may end up driving away the traffic it intended to attract on its browser.