Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system ships with Microsoft Edge as the default browser. Microsoft Edge replaced Internet Explorer as the primary browser in Windows 10, and while it’s still possible to load Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s primary focus is now on Edge.
Edge is pretty basic at the moment, which may be adequate for light web browsing, but when it comes to customizing or extending the browser, it’s probably not your first choice due to the lack of options to do so.
For example, you cannot replace the default search engine Bing with any search engine, only those that support the OpenSearch search standard. And even that is well hidden in the advanced settings and requires that you have visited the page of the other search engine at least once.
Microsoft Edge on top of that doesn’t support extensions, and privacy-conscious users will have a hard time finding settings that enhance their privacy while using the browser.
If you prefer to use a different web browser, be it Firefox, Chrome, Pale Moon, Opera, or Vivaldi, then you may also want that browser to be the default browser in Windows 10.
If you don’t, links in third-party apps like email clients or chats will open in Microsoft Edge and not in the web browser you’re using.
Most third-party browsers display a startup message when an analysis determines that they are not the default system browser.
Firefox does that, for example, and when you select the option, you’re taken to the “Default Apps” page in Windows 10 Settings.
Since some browsers may not do it correctly or not at all, you may want to follow the guide below which ensures that you can set another browser as the default system browser in Windows 10.
To change the default web browser through the “Default Applications”, please do the following
Tap the Windows key, type app default settings and hit enter.
Find the web browser on the page that opens.
Click Microsoft Edge (or the browser name listed there if it’s something else) and select one of the available browsers shown in the overlay.
You can select any installed browser, including Internet Explorer, at this time.
However, it seems impossible to make a portable browser the default currently, as the only other option available is to search the Store for suitable apps.
The new browser name appears as the new default app right away. You can use the reset button to reset all custom programs set on this page or switch to another browser by clicking on the name of the current default.
This is not the only option that Windows 10 offers right now to set the default web browser. The current version of Windows 10 ships with the classic Control Panel that you can also use to set default programs.
Using the classic control panel to change the default browser in Windows 10
Tap the Windows key, type default programs and hit enter to start the process.
This opens the classic control panel, more precisely the “Choose the programs that Windows uses by default” applet.
Select “set your default programs” when the window opens and wait until the list is complete. Microsoft displays programs on the page and, when you select a program there, options to make it the default for some or all of the file types it supports.
Locate your web browser of choice there and click “set this program as default” to make it the default browser for all protocols and files it can open.
Alternatively, you can choose the defaults if you want full control over the types of files and protocols you want to open in the browser.
Note: Microsoft has expressed the intention to remove the classic control panel in future versions of Windows 10. Most, if not all, of the applets will be integrated into the operating system’s Settings application.
We will update the guide to reflect that change when it happens.