Microsoft promises to give users and apps more control over app defaults and pinning in Windows
Tired of Microsoft Edge placing multiple icons on the Windows desktop, even after you have just removed them? This and other shenanigans are soon a thing of the past according to Microsoft's announcement on the official Windows blog.
In it, Microsoft employees Tali Roth and Aaron Grady state that Microsoft wants to "ensure that people are in control of what gets pinned to their Desktop, their Start Menu and their Taskbar" and that they should also "be able to control their default applications such as their browser through consistent, clear and trustworthy Windows provided system dialogs and settings".
Windows users who have been burned by Microsoft in the past might cry out now "what took you so long", considering that it was Microsoft that made it more difficult to set default apps in Windows 11.
Microsoft promises to do better and to make that very clear, the company announced three major usability principles going forward:
- Windows users will be in charge and in control of apps that they pinned and their defaults.
- Application developers will have access to a "common supported way" to make their applications the default or pin their applications to the Windows taskbar.
- Microsoft apps will use the same methods that third-party developers have at their disposal when it comes to the pinning of apps and defaults.
Microsoft revealed that it is going to introduce new features in Windows that help users and app developers. Users gain more control and developers get officially supported options regarding pinning and making their apps the defaults for certain file types on the operating system.
A new deep link option to the default apps section of the Windows Settings will become available soon, according to Microsoft. Windows supports a special protocol to launch certain preferences or pages in the Settings.
The URI ms-settings:appsfeatures, for instance, opens the Installed Apps section of the Settings app. There are hundreds of these links, which users may execute from the run box or search.
Soon, a new option is introduced that provides a link directly to an application's "default apps" settings. Users may configure default app behavior there for the app. Microsoft did not reveal if the "set default" option will become available for all apps, or if users need to set file type associations manually for certain apps.
Microsoft plans to launch a new public API soon as well for pinning improvements. This new API enables "apps to pin either primary or secondary tiles to the Taskbar", according to Microsoft. Users receive a prompt when an application tries to pin to the taskbar, and they may allow or decline the operation using the dialog.
Microsoft made no mention of desktop icon or Start Menu pinning, even though it mentioned the Start Menu and the Desktop when stating that it wants to "ensure that people are in control".
The new features will become available in the coming months in the Windows Insider Dev Channel. The next feature update for Windows 11, which Microsoft plans to release in the second half of 2023, may be the first stable version of Windows 11 to include the new functionality.