Firefox 2021 Browser PcSource: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central

What you need to know

  • Microsoft recently made it easier to change the default browser on Windows 11.
  • Mozilla calls the move a "step in the right direction" but says more can be done.
  • Mozilla asked Microsoft to give developers access to more APIs related to default browser settings.

Earlier this month, Microsoft rolled out an optional cumulative update for Windows 11 that made it easier to change the default browser on PCs. Previously, people had to manually change the default setting for every file and link type, which could require dozens of steps to accomplish. Following the recent update to Windows 11, people can set their preferences for more than one link and file type with a single click.

Mozilla, the makers of the Firefox browser, said that the move is a "step in the right direction" by Microsoft but that more can be done to "respect default browser choice on Windows." The company calls on improvements for both end-users and developers when it comes to setting a default browser.

"People should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults and all operating systems should offer official developer support for default status," said a Mozilla spokesperson. "In practice, we'd like to also see progress on reducing the number of steps required to set a new browser as default, and on opening and making APIs available for apps to set default that other Microsoft applications use."

I installed Firefox on a PC running the latest version of Windows 11 and set the browser as our default by following a prompt within Firefox. This swapped the default browser for the PC to Firefox for quite a few file and link types, but not all of them. For example, AVIF, PDF, and WEBP were all still set to other applications. When clicking to change the remaining file and link types to Firefox, I was shown a message discussing Edge before I could confirm the change.

It's important to note that reversing the process and setting Edge as my default browser leaves the settings for the same link and file types unchanged. It appears that even setting your browser to Microsoft Edge does not change all of your defaults on Windows 11.