Firefox's Default Browser Workaround

Microsoft made the choice to intercept links and open them exclusively in Edge, regardless of your preferred default. Mozilla has released a workaround.

Microsoft has made the choice to intercept certain web links and open them exclusively in their Edge browser, regardless of your preferred default. From Cortana hyperlinks to built-in help links - you couldn't escape Microsoft's attention if you tried!

Previously, tools like EdgeDeflector made it so you can redirect these links back to your preferred browser, but unfortunately, these tools can no longer be supported on the most recent versions of Windows. Back in 2021, Microsoft decided to block Edge browser competitors from opening links, leading to EdgeDeflector being discontinued.

Microsoft Forcing Edge

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Why Is Microsoft Forcing Edge on Windows Users?

Microsoft is forcing edge on Windows users

Despite the best efforts of the marketing department, Microsoft continues to dominate the PC market. A recent Internet Explorer survey revealed that Microsoft still owns nearly 40% of the market. In some countries, Apple and Linux may have a bit more of the action, but Microsoft still has the upper hand. The company also boasts a massive user base, with Windows users comprising nearly 92% percent of the installed base.

However, Microsoft isn't exactly the most enlightened of companies. As a matter of fact, Microsoft has shown a history of anti-competitive behavior. Not to mention the fact that it is still actively trying to discourage people from downloading its competitor's browsers, like Vivaldi. This isn't even the first time Microsoft has tried to block its competitors from reaching their customers.

The company's latest incarnation of Windows 10, the October Update, requires users to manually assign which apps get which tile types. In addition, users can't even install the Chrome browser without first configuring Microsoft Edge. The company's anti-competitive tactics have been going on for years. However, the company's practices have taken a toll on its brand and its users.

Microsoft’s Tactics To Discourage Users From Switching Browsers

Microsoft is reportedly working on a new way to discourage people from downloading the Google Chrome browser. According to a report by Neowin, when trying to download Chrome using the Microsoft Edge browser, the company displays a prompt, asking users if they are sure they want to proceed.

Microsoft tactics to discourage users from switching browsers

Windows 10 and 11 users are reportedly being shown pop-up messages when they visit the Chrome download page using Microsoft Edge. According to Neowin, the prompts appear below the address bar on the page.

Vivaldi also made a report in 2021, showing that Microsoft also tried placing a large advertisement when users were to search "Vivaldi" using the Edge browser. The promoted message read "There's no need to download a new web browser". This active discouragement has caused thousands of users confusion and frustration.

Additionally, after successfully downloading and installing a new web browser, Forbes reports that Microsoft continuously tries to discourage users from changing the default browser from Edge. Making simple tasks like switching default browsers a hassle has caused many users to abandon Microsoft Edge in favor of other browsers.

Mozilla’s Solution to the Problem

Earlier this year, Mozilla released a method for users to set Firefox as the default browser. It was a major step forward in making switching to Firefox easier on Windows. But Microsoft has thrown a wrench in the works.

The new version of Windows has a new Default Apps interface. The new interface tries to keep the playing field level by making it easier to switch from browser to browser. However, it complicates things for rival browser makers.

Mozilla's solution to the problem

Mozilla has reverse-engineered the new Default Apps interface and created a way for users to set Firefox as the default browser. This works in the background and requires no input from the user.

Microsoft has responded to Mozilla by rolling out an optional cumulative update for Windows 11 earlier this month. However, the update broke the ability to set Firefox as the default browser. The Microsoft spokesperson said that the fix will be available in future Windows Updates. It is unclear how the company plans to prevent Firefox from being set as the default.

If you don't like the idea of Microsoft changing the default, you can always reinstall Firefox. You can do this through the Default Settings page. Another option is to use the Microsoft Store to download Firefox. However, you will need the MSIX package to install the browser.

Microsoft EdgeDeflector’s Problem With File Associations

If you're using a Windows release before Windows 11 build 22949, you can still install and enjoy the benefits of EdgeDeflector. However, using Microsoft Edge can be frustrating if you have problems opening certain links.

How to Fix EdgeDeflector

Most EdgeDeflector problems are related to file associations, but there is an easy way to fix them:

  • Change file association for specific file types
  • Disable file association web service
  • Change the default app for specific protocols
  • Make a Registry modification

You can change the file association for specific file types. If this doesn't work, you may need to disable the file association Web service. This can save you time and frustration.

The first thing you should do is go to Settings. In the Apps section, you should find Microsoft Edge. Then, go to the Default apps menu and select EdgeDeflector. This will redirect any microsoft-edge:// links to other browsers. It's similar to how Firefox handles the same problem.

If you're using Windows, you can also change the default application for certain file types. You can do this by right-clicking on the file. You will then see a list of your options. Then, select the application you want.

You can also change the default application for specific protocols. For example, if you need to open a PDF file, you can select Adobe Reader or Foxtana Pro. This should solve your problem.

Alternatively, you can go to the Registry. To disable the file association Web service, you need to delete a registry entry. This is the easiest way to do it.


While it's understandable that Microsoft wants people to use its default browser, its harsh tactics are largely seen as anti-competitive by many. Clearly, Microsoft needs to rethink its strategy for discouraging people from downloading rival browsers if it wants to continue being competitive in the tech world.

Luckily, even though Microsoft is making it more difficult to set Firefox as the default browser, there are still a number of ways to work around these issues. There are tools and methods available that can help you continue using Firefox without any problems. So if you're frustrated by Microsoft's latest tactics, don't worry – there are still plenty of options available.

One More Thing

Looking for more tips? Check out our other guides in the SoftwareKeep Blog and our Help Center! You’ll find a wealth of information on how to troubleshoot various issues and find solutions to your tech problems.

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