Microsoft finally backs down on Edge, but only in EU
Windows 11 has caused quite a stir in the tech world. One of the most talked-about changes is the Windows 11 browser's overhaul, which has garnered mixed reactions across the tech world.
Windows 11 comes with a significant transformation in its default web browser. Microsoft has bid farewell to Internet Explorer and Microsoft EdgeHTML, introducing a completely new browser based on Chromium, the same open-source project that powers Google Chrome. This shift aims to provide users with a faster, more secure, and feature-rich browsing experience.
Since this change, the company has been committed to developing the Edge browser for the betterment of its users, but unfortunately, they have recently decided to "force" users to use the Edge browser.
In a recent development, Microsoft has decided to allow users within the European Union, as well as those from Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway, to regain control over their default web browsers.
Windows 11 browser is changing once again
As of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23531, links in Windows system apps will no longer exclusively open in Microsoft Edge, disregarding the user's preference for a different browser. This shift aligns with regulations in the European Economic Area (EEA), where Windows system components will now utilize the user's chosen default browser to open links.
While this may appear to be a minor adjustment, Microsoft's previous insistence on promoting Edge as the default browser has been a source of discontent among Windows users. Both Windows 10 and Windows 11 have incorporated numerous features that present clickable internet links, including help articles, search results, and widget articles. Unfortunately, these links were hardwired to open in Microsoft Edge, regardless of the user's preference.
Microsoft's Edge push
Earlier this year, Microsoft extended this behavior to web links in Outlook emails and Team chats, explaining that it aimed to enhance product experiences. However, the move received pushback from users who wished to maintain control over their choice of browser.
In response, some users even created specialized tools like EdgeDeflector to redirect microsoft-edge:// links used in Microsoft apps and across the OS shell to the default browser's https:// equivalents. However, Microsoft took notice of these efforts, and with Windows 11 build 22494 and beyond, the workaround no longer functions.
It's worth noting that while European users are celebrating this change, users from other regions are left frustrated, as it will not be implemented globally. This disparity has led to some users contemplating workarounds to mimic an EEA location in their operating system settings.
Microsoft has yet to provide a detailed explanation for this regional distinction, and their response to inquiries suggests that no further information is forthcoming at this time. This move underscores the ongoing debate surrounding browser choice and the balance between user preferences and software defaults in the Windows ecosystem.
Featured image credit: Edge/Microsoft.Advertisement