Microsoft has made it troublesome for users to switch default browsers in Windows 11, and now the company is blocking apps like EdgeDeflector. Microsoft is coercing people to use Edge as their browser.
Microsoft has been forcing Windows 10 and Windows 11 users into Edge and its Bing search engine in the Start menu search results, and now with the new Widgets panel in Windows 11.
The EdgeDeflector block first appeared in an early preview build of Windows 11 last week.
“Windows openly enables applications and services on its platform, including various web browsers,” says a Microsoft spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “At the same time, Windows also offers certain end-to-end customer experiences in both Windows 10 and Windows 11, the search experience from the taskbar is one such example of an end-to-end experience that is not designed to be redirected. When we become aware of improper redirection, we issue a fix.”
This “fix” is now part of an upcoming imminent update to Windows 11 that arrived for Beta and Release Preview users late on Friday, and the developer of EdgeDeflector isn’t happy with Microsoft’s changes. “These aren’t the actions of an attentive company that cares about its product anymore,” says Daniel Aleksandersen, developer of EdgeDeflector, in a critical blog post last week. “Microsoft isn’t a good steward of the Windows operating system. They’re prioritizing ads, bundleware, and service subscriptions over their users’ productivity.”
“The 500,000 EdgeDeflector users were probably never more than a nuisance to Microsoft,” explains Aleksandersen. “However, last month both the Brave and Firefox web browsers either copied EdgeDeflector’s functionality or signaled it was on the roadmap.”
Mozilla is also against this new ‘fix’.
“People deserve choice. They should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults and their choice of default browser should be respected,” says a Mozilla spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “We have worked on code that launches Firefox when the Microsoft-edge protocol is used for those users that have already chosen Firefox as their default browser. Following the recent change to Windows 11, this planned implementation will no longer be possible.”
Mozilla has also applied its own way of setting Firefox as the default browser for Windows 10 and 11. However, if you download Firefox from the Microsoft Store, it does not show the option to make Firefox your default browser.
“Firefox ships an MSIX package in the Windows Store so that our users on Windows 10 and Windows 11 are able to download Firefox from the Store,” explains a Mozilla spokesperson. “MSIX packages run in a ‘Windows package environment.’ The aspects of the Windows environment that Firefox relies on when users choose Firefox to be their default browser do not work in an MSIX environment.”