Windows has always been delivered with Microsoft’s own browser Edge – formerly Internet Explorer. In many cases, however, this is only used to load and install another browser such as Chrome or Firefox. That’s why the company is trying to use tricks to force users to use Edge – but this is now over in the EU.
In the current Insider Preview version of Windows 11, Microsoft is now finally allowing users to open Internet links system-wide with the browser of their choice. The change is currently still in the testing phase. The requirement to only be able to open links in Windows with Edge is one of the biggest criticisms of the operating system.
Windows automatically opens links in Edge
With Windows 10, Microsoft stipulated that links in the search function and the widget in the taskbar would only be opened in the Edge browser. The system ignores the default browser that the user has set in the settings. These so-called system components also behave in this way in Windows 11.
At least in the European Economic Area (EEA), this requirement should no longer exist in the future. In a small note in the Preview version changelog of Windows 11, Microsoft notes: “In the European Economic Area (EEA), Windows system components use the standard browser to open links.” In addition to the EU countries, the EEA also includes Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein.
Microsoft anticipates new EU law
It is likely that Microsoft is introducing this change to comply with the Digital Markets Act (GDM), which comes into force in the EU in March 2024. The law forces companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google to give more choice in their operating systems.
For example, it is expected that Apple will have to allow alternatives for installing apps in addition to the App Store. Users should also be given more freedom to choose standard apps and services – such as browsers, voice assistants and search engines – themselves.
TECHBOOK has reached out to Microsoft for comment but has not yet received a response.