Mozilla Firefox reverse-engineers Microsoft ‘anti-hijacking’ protections in Windows 11 which make switching default browser very cumbersome

Mozilla Firefox Microsoft Edge Windows 11 Default Web Browser
One-click is all that is needed to switch the default browser to Mozilla Firefox in Windows 11. Pic credit: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr

Mozilla Firefox is the first web browser that makes it a lot easier to set itself as the default web browser in Windows 11. The browser has effectively defeated the cumbersome process Microsoft deployed to dissuade users from migrating.

Microsoft Windows 11 has some clever engineering to ensure users of the operating system stick to the default, integrated apps. Mozilla Firefox has reportedly defeated one of the methods.

Microsoft Windows 11 makes switching to different apps from the default ones very difficult, if not impossible:

Microsoft is notorious for deploying methods that make users jump through hoops to change the default web browser inside Windows operating system. The company once battled the European Union for the right to choose a default Internet web browser.

As reported previously, the battle got uglier with Windows 11. The process to choose “default” applications is quite cumbersome. It involves clicking Select and Confirm messages multiple times.

Needless to mention, Edge is the default web browser that Microsoft has baked inside Windows 11. As several users have reported, Microsoft is deploying some questionable tactics to ensure users stick to the default applications.

Instead of clicking ‘Set as default’, Microsoft makes users select, choose, and confirm the types of files an application will handle. A web browser currently handles HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS.

This means Windows 11 OS users must now select each file type individually and associate the same with another browser. Each change consists of: Click, select Chrome, confirm.

Simply put, just to set Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as the default web browser, Windows 11 OS users have to click 33 times.

Mozilla Firefox successfully bypasses the cumbersome process Microsoft deployed inside Windows 11:

It is quite clear that Microsoft has deployed some simple but highly effective techniques to keep users from changing the default web browser in Windows 11.

However, Mozilla has reportedly reverse-engineered the technique and essentially made switching the default browser a ‘one click’ affair. Users can experience the convenience of switching the default browser in Windows 11 to Firefox, in the browser’s latest version.

Simply put, Mozilla can let the Firefox browser become the default one without going through “Click agony”.

Mozilla has been fighting with Microsoft for quite some time over the latter’s tactics. Interestingly, none of the other popular web browsers for Windows 11 have adopted a similar automation technique.

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