One of the complaints of Windows 11 is that it makes it harder to change the default apps and system browser. But the truth is that all default apps in Windows 11 have to be associated with unique file systems, which is the only difference from Windows 10. While Microsoft does try to push the native browser Edge on unwary users, you can easily replace it with a different browser. Read on to learn how to change your default apps and browser in Windows 11 to anything you want.
How to Change Default Apps in Windows 11
Like its predecessor Windows 10, all system changes in Windows 11 follow the default “Settings” in search menu. The only thing that has changed is the centered search icon on the taskbar which can be a bit tricky to locate. To change the browser or any other Windows 11 default apps, select “Apps” from the system menu.
Once inside the Apps menu, select the “Default apps” option. Do note that instead of navigating this far, you can directly search for “default apps” on the homescreen itself. Here you will notice that the defaults are changed based on “files and file and link types, other defaults” which is something entirely new for Windows 11.
As an example, if you want to set the file type connection for Word documents, you will have to search for “.docx, .doc” or other document formats and associate them with Word. After you do this, Word will become the default app for all the file associations of your choice.
Other file types, such as “.odt,” can be customized with entirely different default applications, such as LibreOffice, for example. This is very helpful, as these Open Office applications are seen as more suitable for file types like odt.
Windows 11 is giving its users the system flexibility to open different file types for separate default apps without having to change back and forth. Although this requires an extra step, this is certainly a good feature to have.
If you don’t want to remember file names, you can alternatively change an app’s default file associations. For this we refer to the below example of changing Windows 11’s default browser.
How to Change the Default Browser in Windows 11
As discussed previously, you can change the default browser in Windows 11 from the “Default Apps” menu accessed from search. You can change your default browser from Edge to Google Chrome, Firefox or any other browser installed on your Windows 11 device.
First, search for another browser application such as Chrome on “set defaults for application.” Click on the app icon, such as Google Chrome or any other browser you want to set as the default.
You will find a huge list of browser extensions, such as .htm, .html, .pdf, .shtml, .svg, .https, and a few more. All these extensions have to be changed one by one to the default browser app of your choice. While it is an extra step, you just have to do it once.
And that’s it! Your default browser has been changed.
There’s an annoying pop-up, though, which invites you to check Microsoft Edge instead of the browser of your choice. This is indeed a bit intrusive. But you can safely ignore the message. Again, it only has to be done once.
The ability to change the default browser in Windows 11 based on file type is pretty useful in certain situations, such as with PDF files. Based on this new setting, you can quickly switch back and forth between a PDF reader, such as Foxit or Adobe, and Google Chrome, Edge or other browsers.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why does Windows 11 make it difficult to change your default browser?
The extra steps involved in changing the default browser has caught many users off guard. The default browser changes are addressing a more advanced problem pertaining to file extensions.
With Windows 11, there’s an additional ability to configure and customize .html, .htm, .https, .pdf, .svg, and other file extensions based on the browser and application of your choice. This is the only change from Windows 10 to Windows 11. If you don’t like the default choices, you have to change back just once.
Remember that Windows 10 also lets you choose default apps by file type and protocol, but it’s a secondary option buried as an advanced step. In Windows 11, using the file types is the primary option to change any default apps.
2. How can I go back to Windows 10 from Windows 11?
if you’ve decided you don’t like Windows 11, there are two ways to go back to your previous Windows 10 version. In the first method, if you had created a recovery USB drive at the time of installing Windows 11 from Windows 10, you can use it to recover your Windows 10 system. To access that, go to “System -> Recovery -> Advanced Startup” and boot your device.
For those who want to switch over within 10 days of installing, you can use the “Go back” option to move to the last build of Windows 10.
Before you revert back to Windows 10, know that Windows 11 does brings some good improvements. These include the ability to work with multiple virtual desktops on the same device and snap layouts that can unleash your multitasking to another level. Besides, as this guide has shown, you aren’t stuck with everything Windows 11 has to offer. It’s easy to change the Windows 11 default apps and browser to what you prefer. Give the new system a chance and fully discover all it has to offer.