How to Force Windows 11 to Open Links in Your Default Browser

With Windows 11, Microsoft has gone a step ahead to try and force users to stick to its Edge browser. Notably, the company has made the process of changing the default browser more complicated than it was on Windows 10. But even if you switch to your favorite web browser, there are certain aspects in the operating system like the new widgets panel, where Windows 11 won’t respect your default browser and open the link in Microsoft Edge. This can be frustrating, so we will show you how to force Windows 11 to open all links in your browser of choice in this article.

Other than enforcing the default browser preference, we have included instructions to use your preferred search engine whenever you are using Windows Search to browse the web. Hence, make sure you read on till the end to know everything you need to know to take control of your browsing habits in Windows 11.

Download and Install EdgeDeflector

1. We will be using a free app called EdgeDeflector to enable you to use your favorite browser without any interference from Microsoft. You can download EdgeDeflector from GitHub. Under the Releases section, click on ‘EdgeDeflector_install.exe‘ to download the application.

download edge deflector

2. Once downloaded, open the installer and click on ‘Install’ to get started with using EdgeDeflector.

install edge deflector

1. To start using EdgeDeflector, you will first need to configure it. So, open the Settings app using the Windows 11 keyboard shortcut ‘Win + I’, switch to the ‘Apps’ section from the left sidebar, and click on ‘Default apps’ in the right pane.

default apps windows 11

2. From the list of apps, locate EdgeDeflector and click on the ‘MICROSOFT-EDGE’ link type, as shown in the image below.

edge deflector default page listing

3. When the pop-up appears, pick ‘EdgeDeflector’ from the list of options, and you are all set. All links you open on your Windows 11 PC should now respect your default browser preferences.

pick edge deflector as default

4. For instance, check out the demo below where I’ve opened an article from the Windows 11 widgets panel. The MSN news story link has automatically taken me to my default browser, Firefox. Without EdgeDeflector, this link would have opened in Edge.

  • link from windows 11 widget
  • widget link on firefox

Change Default Browser in Windows 11

In case you are wondering how to change your default browser in Windows 11, we have you covered. Open the Settings app and navigate to Apps -> Default apps -> [your browser of choice] and pick all the relevant link types. We also have a dedicated guide with step-by-step instructions to change the default browser in Windows 11.

How to Force Windows 11 to Open Links in Your Default Browser

Microsoft typically uses Bing when you browse the web using Windows Search. However, you can choose to use the search engine of your choice using a Chrome extension. Here are the steps to use your preferred search engine on Windows Search:

Note: Do keep in mind that Chrome should be your default browser for the feature to work as intended. You can check the above section for changing the default browser in Windows 11.

1. Chrometana Pro is an open-source extension that you can use to force Windows 11 to use Chrome and your search engine of choice while using Windows Search. You can download the Chrometana Pro (Free) extension from Chrome Web Store. Click on ‘Add to Chrome’ to install the extension.

add chrometana pro extension

2. When the pop-up appears, click on ‘Add extension’ to confirm your action.

add extension button

3. Once installed, click on the extension’s icon to configure it. Here, you can choose to redirect Bing search queries to Google, DuckDuckGo, Yahoo, Baidu, or set a custom one.

configure chrometana pro

And for those who use Firefox, there exists an official port of Chrometana Pro named Foxtana Pro. The steps to get started are similar to its Google Chrome counterpart.

1. First, you should download Foxtana Pro from the Firefox Add-ons website by clicking on ‘Add to Firefox’.

add foxtana pro to firefox

2. From the in-browser pop-up, click on ‘Add’, and Firefox will install the extension.

confirm adding foxtana

3. You can then click the extension’s icon and pick your favorite search engine. Do keep in mind that the extension won’t consider your default search engine. Hence, you will have to specify it from Foxtana Pro settings manually.

configure foxtana pro

So there you have it. If you set it all up correctly, you will no longer be bothered by Microsoft’s nudges to keep using its own services. While you are at it, check our other articles on disabling suggested notifications in Windows 11, freeing up disk space, and using focus sessions to boost productivity. And if you have any queries, let us know in the comments section below.

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