Mozilla claims Microsoft made it harder to change the default web browser in Windows 10

Mozilla has started a war of words with Microsoft over Windows 10. Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox web browser claims that Microsoft has made it harder in Windows 10 to change the default web browser to something else compared to previous versions of the operating system.

The blog post says:

"While it is technically possible for people to preserve their previous settings and defaults, the design of the new Windows 10 upgrade experience and user interface does not make this obvious nor easy. When people do manage to open the correct dialog box, it now requires more than twice the number of mouse clicks, more scrolling through content and a more focused effort to reassert a choice they had previously made in earlier versions of Windows."

Mozilla even posted a video to show how Windows 10 users can change their default browser in Windows 10. In addition, Mozilla's CEO Chris Beard has posted an open letter to Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella that also talks about the company's issues with Windows 10:

"These changes aren't unsettling to us because we're the organization that makes Firefox. They are unsettling because there are millions of users who love Windows and who are having their choices ignored, and the increased complexity put into everyone's way if and when they choose to make a choice different than what Microsoft prefers.""We strongly urge you to reconsider your business tactic here and again respect people's right to choice and control of their online experience by making it easier, more obvious and intuitive for people to maintain the choices they have already made through the upgrade experience — and easier for people to assert new choices and preferences, not just for other Microsoft products, through the default settings APIs and user interfaces."

Mozilla is developing a version of Firefox for Windows 10, which is currently in beta testing and will move to its stable channel in mid-August.

If you want to see how easy or difficult it actually is to change your default web browser, check out our how-to post here

Source: Mozilla (1), (2)

458 Comments
  • ....nevermind. Not gonna say anything...
  • I am! WTF... That wasn't difficult at all. I wouldn't change my default browser but the option is available and informative.
  • If MS was still using explorer, this complaint wouldnt have been made but Edge seems to be a clear threat and so they clearly dont want people getting attached to Edge, as they might actually enjoy using it.
    ----------
    What I find funny, is how they have been quiet during tech preview days where everyone's input was being asked for yet suddenly a day after launch they decide to voice their concerns.
  • Windows 10 snuck up on them and caught them off guard.
  • Not just them Symantec & their spyware aswell
  • Could you explain that?
  • You mean it's not common knowledge that there is a directive at Microsoft to FIRST think about "how to EFF with Mozilla" before writing a single line of code.  These guys are smoking something. PS: That's called "Sarcasm" for those who may not have noticed.
  • Lol
  • Since Symantec's NIS uses a browser's Extensions/Add-Ons capabilities for putting their web protection into it, and since you are not able to use Add-Ons on MS Edge, Symantec shouted out loud that using MS Edge for browsing the web would be a high security/safety risk for every device you are using it on. Not to say that MS Edge will be able to use Extensions at future time.
  • M​aybe Microsoft is making it harder for malwares to change default browser.
  • Nah. The EU paid off someone at Mozilla to raise a stink, so they can continue to sue U.S. companies and leech off their success. That "keep Greece afloat" debacle isn't funding itself...
  • Good one! I actually laughed out loud on that one :)
  • Maybe they didn't say anything until now since people are just now starting to upgrade to Windows 10 en masse.
     
  • You said it- Edge is a threat to them.
  • I don't think neither Chrome nor Firefox have to worry too much about Edge. Yes, I like Edge, is super fast and it is more compatible with sites out there. But I already switched it off from being the default. Why? It doesn't support extensions yet. I need my extensions (only two, but they are important to me.) And I have to think that a lot of people feel the same as I. Therefore, they (and I) will not be using Edge so Edge will go to the back burner for now. And it will take a brand new campaign from MS to remind people that Edge is there once it finally supports extensions. I believe it was a mistake from MS not to support extension right off the gate. MS killed one of its best features in W10 by doing that.
  • I think it wil be much easier to get people back to using a better browswer but I do agree with you that extensions should have been supported from the building blocks.
  • ++
  • I have seen the extension option on in IE, but I never saw any additional value with them. But I am curious to try one out. Which extension do you find most valuable?
  • I need Adblock and Ghostery. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Most people don't care about extensions.
  • Edge isn't really a threat until popular extensions work in it. To be a real contender, Edge also needs cross-platform availability (Android, OS X, iOS) with excellent sync capabilities -- something Microsoft said probably won't happen. Sadly, Edge is, once again, just that pre-installed browser sitting dormant on my Windows 10 machine. :(
  • Edge is no threat...when people start using it and see that it crashes every now and then..they will move to FF or chrome. Also adblock is a must these days. That's why I hate it when MS delivers unfinished or unpolished products.
  • What the hell are you smoking? Chrome and Firefox crash a half a dozen times a day. Chrome is also a RAM hogging, battery draining pig of a browser. As for adblock, extensions are coming soon, so hold your damn horses. As for unfinished and unpolished, you don't have a damn clue what you're talking about, and Google is the king of unfinished, unpolished product.
  • Edge is buggy. It crashes after an hour or two when i have lots of tabs open. It doesn't have app support and if one site crashes the whole browser doesn't respond and sometimes it just closes it self. It's fast yeah wow cool chrome is still faster in most benchmarks
  • Edge do not crash, here, but is crushing the other browsers!
  • I have yet to experience a crash with Edge going back to when it was Spartan. Lucky? Maybe but it's not as crash prone or buggy as you guys make it to be. The same can't be said for FF that's been around forever. Extensions I agree should have been available from the beginning.
  • First of all, I have had Edge open with about 10 tabs and used it that way for several days without closing it or rebooting, so it is stable. Secondly, the only benchmarks where Chrome is faster have been adjusted by Google to look that way. You can tell that from the fact that according to the Google based benchmarks, Edge has gotten slower since its inception, which almost never happens with software. Well, except for maybe the memory-hog that is Chrome.
  • Obvious troll is obvious.
  • well said, he doesn't know what he is talking about and as a matter of fact since RTM Edge has never crashed on me.
  • This...right thurr!!
  • Clearly you've never used Chrome. It is 1000x more stable than Edge. Every time I use edge I worry if it is going to crash anytime soon. I have even experienced a crash on Edge since launch but never on Chrome.
    I don't know about battery draining, but for me it does not hog any more RAM than IE or Edge
  • "Chrome is 1000x times more stable", boy that is a lot of times more stable.  Well, phooey on you.  Edge is infinity+1 times better then Chrome :)
  • Don't know if you remembered using Google Chrome a few days after its launch...the thing crashed all of the time and was extremely buggy. Maybe give Edge a few years like Chrome has had and see where it ends up. Edge is lightyears ahead of where Chrome was at this time in its life.
  • Maybe you're right to wait a few years. But right now edge can not be compared to chrome @davidvkimball
  • Haha yeah I exaggerated on purpose there
    But I stand by my point.. Edge isn't as stable as it should be, and it has a long way to go to beat chrome. Edge beating chrome in user share would be as difficult as chromebooks beating Windows laptops and MacBooks
  • Edge will beat that junk chrome within 6 months
  • Pathetic fanboys :D
  • I'm asking because I don't use Chrome, but how much RAM is Chrome using on just this webpage? Edge is running right now with only one tab open using 21.2MB of RAM which I would consider very little.
  • you are telling lies.   do not mislead people by telling stupid lies.
  • It really makes me wonder of you have used Edge? The people paying kudos to it are those on chrome who finally have found something worthwhile to use which doesn't hog tons of memory.
  • Edge uses to crash on me all the time
    but Since RTM i have happily switched over from IE to Edge. No major issues.
  • "Chrome and Firefox crash a half a dozen times a day" You obviously don't use them.
  • Exactly. I haven't had a browser crash in 6-12 months. Chrome & Firefox are very stable. I only run into issues with Firefox when it's memory use spirals out of control, and it struggles with a lot of flash content - typically ad-based, but AdBlocker takes care of that now. Opera on the other hand, was a huge piece of crap that crashed every other day. I stopped using IE because it always forgot my open tabs (unless I religiously remembered to click "reopen last browsing session" or whatever it was).
  • I agree with you my experience is as follows with browsers: Opera > IE > Firefox > Chrome. I don't have other browsers installed. I'm not counting Edge yet because I don't use a PC with Win10 as daily driver.
  • Uh, are you saying Opera is the best of them all and Chrome is the worst? or did you mean the opposite angled bracket i.e. Opera < IE < Firefox < Chrome? 
  • I use Opera, which is basically Chrome without the Google stuff, it just doesn't crash. But I did have the Edge crash on me once and I've been using Windows 10 for only a day and a half. When Edge has extension support, the option to switch favorites to only icons and maybe custom search engines, then I'll consider making it my default browser. Until then I'm sticking to Opera.
  • Adblock for Edge through host. Look up mvphosts. Works on all browsers.
  • I've been using that myself. It also blocks ads in Skype and ad-ridden apps. Strange how it works when you block it at the system level instead of just in a browser. Probably not something everyone would be comfortable doing, though, since they're having to get high-level access to something else to configure how their computer interacts with the internet.
  • Thank you so much for this.
  • I've been using IE for most of my Windoes 8 life. But stopped using it when I couldn't watch one freaking video without getting an ad. Enter Firefox with Adblock, which I had been my Windows 7 life.  
  • IE9 through IE11 have built-in ads blocking called Tracking Protection under Tools-> Manage Addons. You have to enable it, not on by default. Easylist and Quero TPL are two I use.
  • Adblock does work with Edge, download AdGuard.
  • Adguard does the same thing that the mvphosts does that TechAbstract posted, except Adguard ads a fancy GUI and auto-updates. Same exact method of blocking, though. Except I went with the mvphosts because it was free. ;) However, for the novice user, AdGuard would be a much safer solution since they don't have to tinker with command lines or Administrator level prompts.
  • I don't think so either. Yes, it's fast, but so is every other web browser. Edge has crashing issues during the Preview that are now resolved, but it still becomes laggy at times where other browsers wouldn't. Edge might have been fine YEARS AGO when people were switching to Chrome, but now that everyone is already on Chrome? No.
  • Amen to your last statement. In my opinion F* Firefox.
  • You could read whole the letter, Mozilla talks to Satya because their previous effeorts to talk with someone at Microsoft about the issue failed.
  • They are just desparate and because of how popular Windows 10 is getting with such high remarks, they know that Edge can do some damage against them... If I wanted to use another browswer, that would be the end of that. Firefox is talking like people are retarded and unless it is so so so incredibly easy, people won't click 3-4 times or scroll down an inch... It's pretty insulting actually.
  • I don't agree with you and find their argument valid. MS should not radically change the way of doing things so often.
  • Agree with you and they lost a customer. I just uninstall Firefox.
  • I can't argue with that.  Well, I can since I'm not yet an advocate for Edge but you make a good point just the same.  What I truly hope for is that Windows 10 makes it tougher for google chrome services to work. That is my prayer
  • Probably because it wasn't until build 10240 that the defaults screen was coming up during the OS setup. I know 10240 was released early enough to insiders, but who knows? Maybe they tried a private communication first. Either way, I don't think it is as difficult as they are making it look like. But we'll see how Nadella responds.
  • No, they only just saw the upgrade assistant now. And I agree that it's misleading with asking "set these as your default apps". It should keep the same default apps you had in win8 not replace them with somehting new.
  • "That wasn't difficult at all" I think what Mozilla is saying is that their customers are denser than most.
  • Funny enough, Cortana would have easily told them where to change it.
  • Haha, yup.
  • Unless a person doesn't have Cortana on windows 10.
  • Well, the whole reason for the timing is because Mozilla couldn't figure out how to change it themselves until they read Richard's article that was published 2 days ago. http://www.windowscentral.com/how-set-default-web-browser-windows-10
  • It's not difficult, but Microsoft did add unneccessary steps to it that are just wasting users time, why even open up the whole setting app when you have already selected you want it as default in the popup menu.
  • They likely making the Settings Screen launch to prevent websites, browser add-ons, and malware from spoofing the pop-up context menu from Windows 8. This seems like a reasonable adjustment to me. My middle-aged aunt figured how to flip from Edge to Chrome on her Win10 install before I could even get the update to finish downloading. They're being petty about this.
  • Tell her to use EDGE!!!!
  • Yeah that's why I see it too. This implementation might the result of some rougue apps try to confuse users to make those things as default. So this necessary evil (but bit tedious to casual users) can be good to save themselves. This affects on all types of apps anyways, not just browsers.
  • I cant upvoite you enough - there are lots of people who have had toolbars installed, other software and anything you can think of without them realising whats going on, MS is doing a really good thing making it harder for this to happen. If John is inconvienced for a few min then thats unfortunate but far more people are going to benefit from this.
  • Exactly. But MS and these fans here won't see reason. I'm getting sick on this fanboyism
  • Ha ha, troll get hurted
  • Exactly. I don't see what's so hard about it. And at least browsers can't change it without you knowing like they could in Windows 7.
  • Yeah, I used to use several browsers for testing web sites when I ran Windows 7, and they were always trying to set themselves as default. You had to dig in each browsers settings and force them to stop trying to do that. I like how Windows 10 prevents them from "highjacking" my browser preference. I like it very much. I'm using 9 different browsers now (still do testing once in a while) and I'm glad they can't take over.
  • I used to like Firefox but this is a bunch BS, wining, and cry babies.  Look how easy it was to change in the video.  Once edge has addon support, i'll probably switch from firefox.  Thanks to firefox, I know how to switch haha.
  • Wow..double the mouse clicks once only to make Firefox default browser...? I feel for you company that doesn't worry cause you make Firefox ( their words ). 70 year old ppl nowdays scroll and click as much per second on facebook. Maybe you want a pop up again asking to make it default during windows setup? Gtfo lol
  • What is Firefox any way?
  • What's up with Firefox, its quite simple, install Firefox, use it.
  • It wasn't Mozilla who liked edge to be first it was the 5million insiders, they are crying over spilt beans, people like edge more that rest now, I like last pass access it's the only gripe! Other that that no crashes or anything!
  • Why not just touch the Windows key, then type "default"...???
  • What if everyone doesn't have a windows key....lol..couldnt resist
  • I don't understand what they are complaining about. It's visually easier now honestly.
  • It is now harder for Mozilla to change your default browser to Firefox when you are not looking carefully at the Firefox installation instructions.
  • For the ordinary user i can see how this is something you wouldn't think that you would have to go thru compared to previous.
  • why are they even complaining when they don't even have a completed windows 10 version of firefox?
  • Ouch!
  • After months of using Firefox I gave up on it.Too many "Not responding" messages and random crashing. I switched to Chrome and it really is faster and more stable. Now I'm slowy starting to use Edge. Even faster and more lightweight.
  • I'll switch to edge once they enable add-ons. I'm too dependent on LastPass.
  • I agree.  I really love the speed of Edge, but I also rely heavily on LastPass.  I hope LastPass has an addon for Edge as soon as they are supported.
  • Dont they have a metro app?
  • Yes, they do. Tell me - which would you do? 1. Surf to a website, open a metro app, look up the correct password, paste it into the website, and go. 2. Surf to a website, click the login button, and go. I'm going with option 1 even if it means I use IE for a little while longer.
  • Cant say ive used it successfully just know it exists. Tried using it to connect to a hotspot at a Wendy's didn't help(as of now that Wendy's doesnt use them anymore)
  • I think you have LastPass confused with something else.
  • edge has a password manger
  • But is it secured with two-factor authentication? Does it generate random, strong passwords? And can I use it on the computer in the sound booth at my church (or on any device anywhere) when I'm controlling the sound, video, and looking something up on the web? LastPass is/can.
  • You mean option 2
  • LOL - Yes, I do!
  • I hope it comes sooner than later. I too have come to rely on LastPass for both Desktop/Tablet and mobile phone now too. am hoping that W10M will allow it to be more integrated as well.
  • Yeah, it is a pain on the phone, too. I hope the integration is better there as well.
  • The "add-on", or extension will be virtually the same, or not entirely the same, as the Chrome one.
  • I emailed LastPass support a couple months ago - when Project Spartan first hit the preview. They said that they would have an add-on for it as soon as it was supported.
  • Doesn't the browser save ur passwords and logins? I can see it for form filling out though
  • The browser CAN do that, but not securely. Those passwords are stored in plain text, and can be seen by anyone with access to the PC. But LastPass does more than that. It will generate nonsensical strong passwords, and it can share them across devices, or even on devices that you do not own (by logging into the site you can see your password vault). Having a different password for every site you visit is a strong security measure, as many people use the same passwords everywhere, so when someone hacks Windows Central, for instance, the hacker could use the passwords gained here to try them on banking websites, or other sites that could have sensitive information, for instance. For me, I have only a couple sites that have common passwords, and those are sites that are not sensitive at all. Almost every site has a different, and strong password. LastPass isn't NECESSARY, but it sure is a lot easier than carrying around a notebook with every password in it, and risking losing that. I have it set up with two-factor authentication, so if I want to use it on a different computer (not very often), I can, and not worry about someone scraping my password, because the authentication app generates a new code every 30 seconds. It isn't a MUST-have, but it is definitely a HUGE convenience and security measure. So for me, it is a must-have.
  • But how are you not worried that your passwords go to an online vault?
  • If they didn't, how would I be able to use it on ANY device?
  • Let me ask again - *online* vault ?
  • I KNOW my passwords go to an online vault. Otherwise, I would not be able to use them everywhere.
  • I'm sorry I'm just not convinced at the idea of my passwords going online, in someone else's hands :)
  • That's ok. No one is forcing you to. Myself, I'll store them online, encrypted, with two-factor authentication, with a company that has proven themselves at being quick to respond to attempts to crack their system. http://lifehacker.com/is-lastpass-secure-what-happens-if-it-gets-hacked-1555511389 http://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2015/06/15/password-manager-lastpass-hacked-exposing-encrypted-master-passwords/ And like the first article says, "Furthermore, like any other service, you should be using two-factor authentication with LastPass. If you do, someone with your master password still will not be able to access your account, even in the event of a breach."
  • Same here, I do use Firefox but will definitely switch to edge once lastpass and 1password are out.
  • There was an article on this website saying that a big update is coming in October. One of the new features will be extension support (or add-ons). So just be patient a little more. :)
  • I would have sworn that I saw an article a while back that said that it would be shortly after launch. I could be wrong, though. Either way, IE11 works fine now, and it will work fine until October if it takes that long. I'm in no rush. ;)
  • Strange, I prefer Firefox to Chrome in large part because of how much faster and more stable it is. Moreover, Firefox doesn't bog down whole systems the way Chrome does. It is a total resource hog. So not only is Firefox itself faster, but other applications are faster when I use Firefox.
  • Yeah, I had to install Chrome for something a while back (don't remember why), and given how "everyone" uses it these days, I could not believe how much      slower.    it.    was. I'd never used it before. But guess what? Since I'm in charge of the PCs at church, I uninstalled it from the church PCs, and blocked it from being installed. ;P
  • All depends on how many add-ons you load onto it. Tried songbird once reminded me to much of lagtunes
  • I gave up on Firefox not displaying HTML5 videos properly. Chrome, IE, and Edge don't seem to have a problem. They're just a bunch of whiners that prefer to develop for Linux and hate Windows. When I submitted bug reports for Windows builds and asked about fixes, they stated they didn't have a developer that ran Windows (at the time, I hope) so they couldn't reproduce it. ?!? They developed on Linux, and ported to Windows and hoped it all worked out okay. No wonder it crashed 50 times per day on me. I'm so glad to have Edge.
  • Oh oh remember we must not offend Microsoft only apple can do that
  • Mozilla whingeing. Where was the concern for windows users when all those win8 folks wanted a metro version of Firefox??
  • Agreed
  • I dont see how its harder ? its just different ... 
  • Exactly. As though Microsoft is trying to make this happen. Stupid people everywhere.
  • Good point! Where's my Mozilla browser on Windows Phone?
  • Lol, I wonder what their response would be to that? After all they killed the metro Firefox citing no one used it.....
  • *While it was in beta. Lol.  Most people didn't even know there WAS a Metro Firefox beta.
  • It wasn't that there were no "users", it was that none of their developers used Windows 8 metro because they are all on Linux boxes. Something about how they believe all software should be free, including the OS. It's kind of Mozilla's mission statement. Maybe that's why they are cozying up to Windows 10?
  • I wonder if they dusted off the code for the Metro version to get a head start. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • "Mozilla whingeing" What is the difference between whining and whingeing?  How do you pronounce it?  Is that British? I've been seeing it alot more in recent years and don't remember coming across it. I know whining is used in British English, I've just never heard whingeing. And isn't it unusual, even for British English, to have an 'e' next to '-ing' ?
  • Whining = Why-ning. Whinging = Win-jing. Both are used in UK. Basically mean the same thing. There is no 'e' in whinging. To whine. To whinge. You could also use grizzle, groan, bellyache, moan... To name but a few. Us Brits love a good moan... And we've got plenty of ways of describing them too! :)
  • Lol I love it! Is it ok if I start using that word here in the US? I like the way it sounds.
  • Tweet this to the official @Firefox and @Mozilla handles and make them feel ashamed...I just did
  • How come I'm the only one who finds their concerns genuine lol
  • Reinstall Firefox so you both have the default easily set and the latest version. Quit yer b*tchn
  • From what I can tell, installing the app will not change the defaults. Honestly, I see it as a security feature. And given Microsoft's punishment via the EU concerning browsers ended over a year ago, I'm fne with Microsoft burying the controls. Neither OSX nor Chomium allow you to easily change the default browser.
  • No, it doesn't, and yes it is WAY more difficult to change defaults in Windows 10. I've set Zoom Player as my default media player, but the Photos and Films & TV apps still have some file type associations, and to change them to zoom player I have to go through each and every file type MANUALLY. It's a massive dick move on MS's part.
  • And that is different from other versions how? Windows media player maintained certain associations unless you changed them manually.
  • It's so hard to right click, open with, select default on file.  Like... seriously...
  • Yep. Should have kept the old way. MS is going to get yet another public bashing soon
  • I don't understand why Microsoft is obliged to allow every competitor into their ecosystem. If Mozilla wants to exist deal with it build your own OS.
  • They did (mobile), but nobody cares. hahahaha
  • Switched to Opera in seconds, like in every windows before... 
  • Did you find it hard, or difficult to make Opera your default browser?
  • With a rating 1 to 10, 1 = difficult | 10 = ridiculously, alarmingly, Nasa QC level difficult :P.
  • Waaaaay too hard, Opera asked me to be my default browser, and I had to click on yes.
  • I did that. But it wouldn't let me so I had to go in to the settings app. Wasn't too difficult though.
  • It means they have to update their web browser. Chrome and Firefox now open the Settings app for you on the default apps page.
  • oh boy hahahahahhaha
  • Why not just Chromium?
  • LOL
  • Why bother now that they ditched the excellent Presto engine for Webkit?
  • Lol and in their video they are using an unregistered copy of Windows.
  • Double Lol
  • They believe all software should be free, including the OS. That's why.
  • They do not respect the competitors and want respect. lol
  • Tweeted th