A Windows update just made it harder to set Chrome as your default browser

Google Chrome on Windows
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Google Chrome used to let users set it as their default browser with a single click.
  • The feature stopped working following a Windows update that shipped in April 2023.
  • Microsoft has been criticized in the past over its repeated attempts to get people to stop using Chrome and other non-Edge browsers.
  • The blocking of Chrome's one-click feature to change default browsers could fall into that category as well, but there is a security reason to block the option.

Microsoft continues to try to move people away from Google Chrome and other non-Edge browsers. That's one way to view the latest news about Chrome. Fresh on the heels of news about Edge ignoring people's default browser settings, another report has emerged about Microsoft blocking a handy Chrome feature. Gizmodo shared that the April Windows update prevented users from being able to set Chrome as their default browser with a single click.

Previously, people could open Chrome and set the browser as their default by clicking a single button. The feature was an easier way to set Chrome as a default that didn't require people to jump through the Windows 11 Settings app.

A Microsoft forum thread highlighted the issue:

"After today's cumulative update for Windows 10 and 11, 2023-04, every time I open Chrome the default app settings of windows will open. I've tried many ways to resolve this without luck. This is happening to all 600 systems with the update. Removing the update makes the issue go away."

Enterprise users appear to be affected the most by this bug, but it has also appeared for general consumers.

Microsoft has been accused of pushing people toward Edge too hard in the past, but there is a security reason to block this particular Chrome feature. As highlighted by TechRadar, Google would have to make edits to your system's registry to set Chrome as the default browser. While Chrome may have made a change that users wanted, the method of the change is potentially dangerous.

Microsoft may have just shut down one pathway to make edits to the registry that could be exploited by malicious actors rather than specifically blocking Chrome.

It's still possible to change your default browser to Chrome or other apps through Windows 11's settings. You just can't do so with a one-click button in Chrome. 

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 sean.endicott@futurenet.com.