Microsoft has blocked the ability to open Edge links in other browsers in Windows 11

When Microsoft released the Windows 10 operating system , the company also introduced the classic version of Microsoft Edge, which was meant to replace the outdated Internet Explorer web browser.

To actively promote Microsoft Edge, Redmond even created a separate protocol microsoft-edge://that was used in some internal Windows applications. As conceived by Microsoft, links with this protocol were supposed to open only in Edge.

When these links were opened, Edge rendered the targeted content and rendered a prompt to make it the default browser.

Windows 11 ships with the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge . Like the classic version, the browser is also promoted through the exclusive use of the protocol microsoft-edge://. The new News and Interests widget in Windows 10 and the Widgets app (Widgets) in Windows 11 use the Microsoft Edge protocol, although they essentially display standard web content and links.

Microsoft is trying to promote its browser in a variety of ways. In Windows 11, the company changed the way the default browser was configured. On Windows 10, users can set a different browser as default and it will open all links that browsers can open, except for blocked links of the Microsoft Edge protocol.

In Windows 11, Microsoft removed this feature. Users need to configure the handler for each protocol individually. If you want to switch completely from Edge to Firefox, Brave or Vivaldi, then you need to manually set the desired browser as the handler for HTTP, HTTPS, HTML, PDF, WebP, SHTML, FTP, HTM, Mailto, News and other protocols.

All of these changes have a simple goal: to increase the market share of Microsoft Edge. There is no technical reason for using an internal protocol.

There are separate programs on the market designed to unlock the protocol microsoft-edge://, such as Edge Deflector or Search Deflector. Using these solutions, Windows 10 and Windows 11 users can install a different browser as the handler for this protocol.

For example, the Edge Deflector sets itself as the default handler for the Microsoft Edge protocol and then redirects the request to the browser of your choice.

Browser makers Brave and Firefox have started implementing similar features to improve the process of making them the default handler in Windows 10 and 11.

The Edge Deflector developer noticed this week that Microsoft made changes to the latest build of Windows 11 and effectively blocked other applications from setting themselves as the default handler for the microsoft-edge:

The changes were made between Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22483 and Build 22494 . In the changelog of the latest build, there are several mentions of changes to the protocol and the default file / application association system. However, the most important thing was missing: you can no longer bypass Microsoft Edge with third-party applications such as Edge Deflector.

The EdgeDeflector developer has stated that the app will no longer be updated. He admits there are ways to overcome the limitation, but they “require destructive changes to Windows.”

It is clear that Microsoft has already made a decision and will not change it without large-scale external influence. Windows 11 users are prohibited from making the changes they want to make. At the moment, the only viable option, other than not installing the operating system in the first place, is to ignore programs and applications that use the internal protocol.

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