Microsoft really wants you to use Edge, and it's getting aggressive about it

Edge Dev Hero 2020 Newfeature
Edge Dev Hero 2020 Newfeature (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Updated November 12, 2021 at 1:57 PM ET: Microsoft responded to our enquiry and directed us to the release notes of a previous Insider build of Windows 11. The article has been updated accordingly.

What you need to know

  • A change to Windows 11 Insider preview builds prevents EdgeDeflector from working.
  • EdgeDeflector allows you to open links found in the shell of Windows 11 and Windows 10 in your browser of choice.
  • Many have expressed frustration over the fact that Microsoft forces certain links to open in its Edge browser.

A recent Insider build of Windows 11 affects the ability of EdgeDeflector to redirect links. Certain elements of Windows 11 and Windows 10, such as the News and interests widget, open links in Edge regardless of which browser is set as default. This is done through the use of edge:// protocol links. These types of links bypass default browser settings to open a webpage within Edge. EdgeDeflector worked around this by intercepting edge:// protocol links, but the app no longer works on the latest Insider builds of Windows 11.

"You can't change the default protocol association through registry changes, OEM partner customizations, modifications to the Microsoft Edge package, interference with OpenWith.exe, or any other hackish workarounds," explained the developer of EdgeDeflector.

The developer claimed that the change occurred sometime between Windows 11 builds 22483 and 22494, both of which are Insider builds. They claimed that these changes aren't a bug but that they're the result of a deliberate change by Microsoft, "This isn't a bug in the Windows Insider preview build. Microsoft has made specific changes to how Windows handles the microsoft-edge:// protocol."

A̶s̶ ̶M̶i̶c̶r̶o̶s̶o̶f̶t̶ ̶h̶a̶s̶ ̶n̶o̶t̶ ̶c̶o̶m̶m̶e̶n̶t̶e̶d̶ ̶o̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶n̶g̶e̶ We cannot comment regarding the company's intent or any future plans regarding edge:// protocol links. What is known is that EdgeDeflector does not work on the latest Insider builds of Windows 11.

When reached out for a comment, Microsoft directed us to the release notes for Windows 11 build 22000.346, which states:

We fixed an issue where OS functionality could be improperly redirected when microsoft-edge: links are invoked.

Microsoft did not specify if it views EdgeDeflector as an example of improperly redirecting edge:// protocol links.

EdgeDeflector will remain available for download, but its developer won't try to update it until Microsoft changes how it handles edge:// protocol links. The developer of EdgeDeflector stated that there are still ways to make the app work on Windows 11 but that they "require making destructive changes to Windows."

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at