How to force Windows 11 to always use your default browser
Windows 11 lets you change the default browser to something other than Edge. Unfortunately, the change does not apply in all situations. Clicking on links in some widgets and in several other places will cause Edge to open rather than your chosen browser.
The only way around this annoying gap is to use third-party software. MSEdgeRedirect forces Windows 11 to always use the default browser you choose.
When is Windows 11 going back to using Edge?
There are several places where Windows 11 used Microsoft Edge instead of the one you set. One of the problems is that it is inconsistent. Clicking on some links in Settings will open in your browser of choice, and others will open in Edge.
The search bar in the Widgets panel will take you to Edge, as will web search and search suggestions in the Search widget. By contrast, clicking on text links in the Microsoft Store app will open the browser of your choice.
The way Windows 11 handles certain file types is also inconsistent. Files such as SVG, XHTML, and XHT will still open in Edge. Others such as HTM, HTML, and WEBP will open in your browser of choice.
If you don’t have one yet, here’s how to change the default browser in Windows 11.
How to install and configure MSEdgeRedirect
MSEdgeRedirect works by parsing command line arguments that refer to Microsoft Edge processes. When it finds one, it switches it to use a matching process from your default browser instead. You can download MSEdgeRedirect from GitHub. After downloading the MSEdgeRedirect.exe file, double-click it to run the software.
- Read the license agreement carefully and accept it if nothing worries you.
- You have the choice between two modes, mode of service and active mode. Active mode is the recommended choice and is more likely to work correctly.
- Select the version of Edge you have on your computer. You can select more than one if you want to cover all the bases.
- Select Windows Store apps in additional redirects. Without this selection, Microsoft widgets can still use Edge.
- You can also choose to force searches to use Google or another search engine instead of Bing. You can even change the weather service used in the weather widget.
- Once you’ve changed all the options you want to change, click the Install button then click Finish.
You may see a download warning, which is not unusual with EXE files downloaded from GitHub. We downloaded and scanned the MSEdgeRedirect.exe for malicious code, with no issues found. But the final decision to download or not is up to you.
GitHub is a great place to find independently developed software and utilities. You can read more about this in our beginner’s guide on GitHub.
How to uninstall MSedgeRedirect
When you install MSEdgeRedirect in active mode, the application is completely hidden in the background. There is no icon in the system tray, as there will be if you are using Service mode.
To prevent the software from redirecting to the default browser, you must either change the settings using the link added to the Start menu or uninstall the software.
To uninstall MSEdgeRedirect, open Settings > Apps > Apps & Features. Now scroll down the list of apps to find it and then click on More > Uninstall.
When will Microsoft fix this issue?
Fixing this issue is unlikely to be high on Microsoft’s to-do list. The company has made no secret of its desire to encourage more users to switch to the Edge browser. This discrepancy in how Windows 11 sets the default browser only serves this purpose.
Another third-party app, EdgeDeflector, did the same thing. Later Windows 11 updates closed the flaw it was using, so it no longer works. It won’t be a surprise if a future OS update does the same for MSEdgeRedirect.
Make Windows 11 Use Default Browser Every Time
Windows 11 is a great operating system, but it’s not perfect. It’s a shame that the default app settings don’t work in all areas. Luckily, software like MSEdgeDirect lets you work around these discrepancies in how Windows 11 sets default apps.