How to Force Windows 11 to Always Use Your Default Browser

Windows 11 allows you to change the default browser to something other than Edge. Unfortunately, the change doesn’t apply in all situations. Clicking links in certain widgets and several other places will result in Edge opening rather than your chosen browser.

The only way around this annoying discrepancy is to use third-party software. MSEdgeRedirect forces Windows 11 to always use your chosen default browser.

When Does Windows 11 Revert to Using Edge?

There are several places where Windows 11 used Microsoft Edge instead of the one you set. One of the problems is that it’s inconsistent. Clicking some links in the Settings will open in your chosen browser, and others will open in Edge.

The search bar in the Widgets panel will take you to Edge, as will the web search and search suggestions in the Search widget. In contrast, clicking text links in the Microsoft Store app will open your chosen browser.

How Windows 11 handles certain file types is also inconsistent. Files such as SVG, XHTML, and XHT will always open in Edge. Others such as HTM, HTML, and WEBP will open in your chosen browser.

If you haven’t one up yet, here’s how to change the default browser in Windows 11.

How to Install and Set Up MSEdgeRedirect

MSEdgeRedirect works by scanning for command-line arguments that refer to Microsoft Edge processes. When it finds one, it switches it to use a matching process from your default browser instead. You can download MSEdgeRedirect from GitHub. After downloading the MSEdgeRedirect.exe file, double-click it to run the software.

  1. Read the license agreement carefully and accept it if nothing in it worries you.
  2. There are two modes to choose from, Service mode and Active mode. Active mode is the recommended choice and is more likely to work correctly.

  3. Select the version of Edge you have on your computer. You can select more than one if you want to cover all bases.
  4. Select Windows Store Apps in the Additional Redirections. Without this selected, Microsoft widgets may still use Edge.

  5. You can also choose to force searches to use Google or another search engine rather than Bing. You can even change the weather service used in the Weather widget.
  6. Once you have changed all the options you want to change, click the Install button and then click Finish.

You may see a download warning, which isn’t unusual with EXE files downloaded from GitHub. We downloaded and scanned the MSEdgeRedirect.exe for malicious code, with no problems found. But the final decision to download or not is up to you.

GitHub is a great place to find independently-developed software and utilities. You can learn more about it in our beginner’s guide to GitHub.

How to Uninstall MSEdgeRedirect

When you install MSEdgeRedirect in Active mode, the app is completely hidden in the background. There is no icon in the system tray, as there will be if you use Service mode.

To stop the software from redirecting to the default browser, you either need to change the settings using the link added to the Start Menu or uninstall the software.

To uninstall MSEdgeRedirect, open Settings > Apps > Apps & features. Now scroll down the list of apps to find it, and click More > Uninstall.

When Will Microsoft Fix This Issue?

It is unlikely that fixing this problem is high on Microsoft’s list of things to do. The company has made no secret of wanting to encourage more users to switch to using the Edge browser. This discrepancy in how Windows 11 defines the default browser only serves this aim.

Another third-party app, EdgeDeflector, used to do the same thing. Subsequent updates to Windows 11 closed the loophole it used, so it no longer works. It won’t be a surprise if a future update to the OS does the same to MSEdgeRedirect.

Make Windows 11 Use the Default Browser Every Time

Windows 11 is a great operating system, but it isn’t perfect. It is a shame that default app settings don’t work across the board. Thankfully, software like MSEdgeDirect allows you to get around these discrepancies in how Windows 11 defines default apps.

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