Windows 11 will make choosing default applications including web browser a difficult and multi-click process: ‘Preview Builds’ already displaying signs of ‘Click Agony’

Windows 11 Web Browser Wars
Jumping through hoops just to set default apps? Pic credit: Microsoft

Windows 10 OS users may have forgotten the struggle to choose their default browser. However, Microsoft could be making selecting default programs a tedious task in Windows 11, perhaps hoping users will give up and stick to the company’s applications or apps.

Microsoft once battled the European Union for the right to choose a default Internet web browser. The battle could get uglier with Windows 11. The process to choose “default” applications is reportedly quite cumbersome, involving clicking Select and Confirm messages multiple times.

Windows 7 and 10 OS users fought for the “Default Browser” choice:

Microsoft Windows 7 OS users will bitterly remember how they had to open Internet Explorer only to download the web browser of their choice. The Windows OS maker even fought and lost a battle about this very issue.

Microsoft eventually offered a Browser Choice Window during Windows 10 OS installation in some regions. Back then, the company wanted Windows OS users to use Internet Explorer.

Microsoft baked in its own Internet Explorer within Windows 7 and Windows 10. The competition complained that this is an unfair competitive advantage. Needless to say, the competition won a moral victory.

A few years later, the browser share market proves that free web browser choice is no longer an issue. Google Chrome is comfortably at the top position. However, Microsoft Edge and Mozilla Firefox are now battling for the second spot.

It seems Microsoft is eyeing an opportunity in the shifting usage trends. The Windows 11 Preview Builds strongly suggests Microsoft is deploying some questionable tactics to ensure users stick to the default applications.

Even in Windows 11, the majority of users would first fire up Microsoft Edge, the in-built web browser to install an alternative browser. However, the “Set as default” setting is making users click several times just to get their favorite browser to become the default one in Windows 11.

It is important to note that Windows 11 does not have a stable build yet. Only Windows Insider program participants have access to Preview Builds. Hence, it is possible that Microsoft might just tweak the process and make it easier to choose default applications.

Windows 11 forces OS users to click several times to set their preferred apps as “default”:

The “Set as default” was a powerful setting inside Windows 10 OS. Merely clicking the same would ensure the application would handle the standard functions associated with the platform.

In Windows 11, however, clicking on “Set as default”, brings up an overview of the standard apps that have changed compared to Windows 10.

The web browser is obviously the first thing that Windows OS users would change. Hence, let’s review the process of setting any web browser, other than Microsoft Edge, as default in Windows 11.

Firing up Chrome web browser after installing the same in Windows 11, and attempting to set it as default, will have users staring at a long list of applications, their app categories, and the file types these applications handle.

Windows 11 Preview Build users have to scroll through a long list or find the browser by searching its name. Thereafter, users have to associate every single file type and protocol that they want the Chrome web browser to handle.

Currently, a web browser inside Windows 11 can or must support or handle eleven file extensions or categories. These include HTM, HTML, PDF, SHTML, SVG, WEBP, XHT, XHTML, FTP, HTTP, and HTTPS.

Windows 11 OS users who want Chrome as their default browser, must now select each file type individually and associate the same with Chrome browser.

It is important to note that the process does not involve about eleven clicks. Each change consists of: Click, select Chrome, confirm. Simply put, just to set Chrome as the default web browser, Windows 11 OS users have to click 33 times.

Needless to mention, this is a very tedious process. It is not clear if Microsoft has intentionally created this process just to ensure users continue using the integrated Microsoft apps.

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