How to change Windows 10's default web browser to Chrome, Firefox, or Opera

If your upgrades switched browsers on you, here's the easy way to switch back.

When you upgrade to Windows 10 from another version of Windows, the operating system pulls a nasty trick that could confuse non-techies that don’t know how to go digging around in system settings. The express installation option—a.k.a. the one non-technical users will choose—automatically sets your default web browser to Microsoft’s new Edge, even if you defaulted to Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or another web browser in Windows 7 or 8.

Simply put, the way Windows 10 upgrades handle browser settings don’t respect the previous choices you’ve made, which has prompted vocal complaints from the CEOs of Firefox and Vivaldi. And Edge has a nasty habit of resetting itself as the default if you update Windows 10 or even try to install another browser, as Vivaldi's Jon von Tetzchner points out:

"I understand that Microsoft is concerned with the low usage of Edge, but instead of building a better browser, Microsoft is forcing its product onto people in the most unapologetic manner.

Every time Windows 10 upgrades, it changes the default browser to Edge. Same thing tends to happen when a new browser is installed – for some reason, it leads to restoring Edge as the default option. Not the new browser, and not even the browser that was there as a default one previously. "

Fortunately, Windows 10 doesn’t uninstall your previous browser of choice, and it’s easy-peasy to change the operating system’s default web browser back again—if you know where to look.

Here’s how to do it.

Further reading: The best Windows 10 tips, tricks, and tweaks

How to change Windows 10’s default browser

First, open the Start menu and select Settings, then click on the System option.

windows 10 settings

In the options that appear, select Default apps in the left-hand pane, then scroll down and click on Web browser, which likely has Edge’s icon showing if you just upgraded from a previous version of Windows.

windows 10 default browser

A list of browsers installed on your system will pop up. Select the browser you’d like Windows 10 to use by default. If you don’t see your browser of choice, that means it isn’t installed on the system, so go download it and walk through this simple process again.

windows 10 choose default browser

Boom! That’s it. From now on, all web links will open in Chrome, Firefox, Opera, or whatever other alternative browser you’ve selected. And von Tetzchner has a point: power users may indeed want to check out Vivaldi.

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Brad Chacos

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
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