How to Change the Default Browser in Windows 11

Performance, security, ease of use, features, and aesthetics are common reasons why we prefer to use one browser over another. However, Microsoft would prefer if you used their Microsoft Edge browser, so they made the process of changing browsers rather complicated. Thankfully, they took feedback on board and decided to simplify the browser change process to one click.

How to Change the Default Browser in Windows 11

Read on to learn how to set a new default browser, as well as some common troubleshooting tips for issues using Google Chrome and Firefox.

How to Set the Default Browser in Windows 11

Follow these steps to change Microsoft Edge to a browser you prefer:

  1. Click on the search icon via the taskbar.
  2. Enter a search for “Settings,” then click on the first result.
  3. Navigate to “Apps,” then “Default Apps.”
  4. Locate the browser you wish to use.
  5. At the top of the window, find the “Make (browser) your default browser” prompt and click “Set default.”

And that’s it.

If you decided to make Chrome or Firefox your default browser, there have been some reports of both browsers not working as expected. So we’ve lined up some common fixes and temporary workarounds for you to try should you experience problems.

How to Troubleshoot Chrome Problems in Windows 11

There could be a variety of issues preventing Chrome from working correctly, including:

  • Conflicting extensions or add-ons.
  • Conflicting software.
  • An antivirus utility.
  • A corrupted user profile.

Whenever Chrome is a non-starter, some users experience the browser crashing and receive an error message stating that Chrome has stopped working and closed. Try the following if you experience this issue:

Run Chrome as an Admin

  1. Right-click on the Google Chrome icon.
  2. Choose “Run as administrator” from the context menu.

If this works, do as follows to set Chrome to always run as administrator:

  1. Right-click on the Chrome icon again.
  2. Select “Properties.”
  3. Select the “Compatibility” tab.
  4. Check the box beside “Run this program as an administrator.”
  5. Click “OK.”

Use Incognito Mode

  1. On the taskbar, right-click “Start.”
  2. Choose “Run.”
  3. Enter the following command in the “Open” field:
    chrome.exe -incognito
  4. Click “OK,” then Chrome should launch in Incognito Mode.

Run “Program Compatibility Troubleshooter”

  1. Use the hotkey “Windows + I” to open the “Settings” app.
  2. Choose “Troubleshoot,” then “Other trouble-shooters.”
  3. From the “Program Compatibility Troubleshooter,” hit “Run.”
  4. In the software list, choose “Google Chrome.” If it’s not displayed, select “Not Listed.”
  5. Press “Next” to troubleshoot Chrome.

Launch Chrome Without Extensions

  1. Use hotkeys “Windows + R” to open “Run.”
  2. Type the following command:
    chrome.exe –disable-extensions
  3. Hit “Enter.” Chrome should then launch in safe mode with all extensions disabled.

Deactivate Antivirus Utilities

  1. Double-click on the “Windows Security” system tray icon.
  2. Select the “Virus and threat protection” tab, and choose “Manage settings.”
  3. Click on the “Real-time protection” slider to disable it.

If you’re using third-party antivirus software, disable it from its context menu.

Remove the “chrome.dll” File and Flush the DNS

  1. Click “Search” on the taskbar.
  2. In the search box, type “Google Chrome.”
  3. Right-click Chrome, then choose “Open file location.”
  4. In “File Explorer,” right-click the Chrome shortcut and select the “Open file location” option.
  5. Double-click Chrome’s subfolder with its version number.
  6. Right-click the “chrome.dll” file, then choose “Delete.”
  7. Exit “File Explorer” and open the “Search” app again via the taskbar.
  8. In the text field, type “cmd”.
  9. Select the “Command Prompt” result, then choose “Run as administrator.”
  10. Type the following command, then hit “Enter:”
    Ipconfig /flushdns
  11. Then type the following command and hit “Enter:”
    netsh winsock reset
  12. Close “Command Prompt,” then restart your PC.

Remove Your Chrome User Profile

  1. Use the hotkey “Windows + X” to launch “Run.”
  2. Type the following command, then hit “Enter:”
    %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data
  3. Right-click on the “Default” folder, then choose “Copy.”
  4. Use the hotkey “Ctrl + V” to paste the folder into another directory as a backup.
  5. Delete the “Default” folder by right-clicking it.
  6. Now try opening Chrome. If it opens successfully, reset the browser by entering the following in the URL address bar, then hit “Enter:”
  7. Click the “Restore settings to their original defaults” option, then hit the “Reset settings” button.”

If Chrome is still acting up, you could also try uninstalling and reinstalling it again. You can also try using an alternative like Opera or Vivaldi in the meantime while Windows 11 work through the bugs. Both browsers offer more customization settings and better features, so you might find you enjoy these browsers better.

How to Troubleshoot Chrome Problems in Windows 11

There are some reports that Windows 11 isn’t able to open Firefox, or it randomly stops working.

If you swapped Microsoft Edge for Firefox and are having problems with it, here are some common fixes and temporary workarounds for you to try:

Run Firefox in Compatibility Mode

  1. To do this, you must have the Firefox shortcut on your desktop. If you don’t, navigate to this location:
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
  2. To create the Firefox shortcut, right-click on Firefox and select “Send to,” then “Desktop (create shortcut).”
  3. Right-click on the Firefox icon and choose “Properties.”
  4. Select the “Compatibility” tab, then check the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” box.
  5. From the pull-down list, select “Windows 8,” then hit “Apply” and “OK.”

Now check whether your Firefox has been fixed.

Run the “Program Compatibility Troubleshooter”

  1. Use the hotkey “Windows + I” to launch “Settings.”
  2. From the left menu, select “System.”
  3. Press “Troubleshoot,” then “Other Troubleshooter.”
  4. Locate the “Program Compatibility Troubleshooter,” then beside it, click “Run.”
  5. Choose “Firefox” from the list, then “Next.”
    • The troubleshooter will now scan for issues and display them and their fixes.
  6. To implement a fix, click on it, then restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
  7. Once your computer restarts, see if the issue is resolved.

Use “Run” to Disable Firefox Extensions

  1. Use the hotkey “Windows + R” to launch “Run.”
  2. Type the following command and hit “Enter:”
    firefox.exe --disable-extensions
  3. Now see if Firefox opens successfully.

Open Firefox in Incognito Mode

  1. Open “Run” using the hotkey “Windows + R.”
  2. Type and “Enter” the following command:
    firefox.exe -incognito

If Firefox works in private mode, the problem was caused by corrupt data or extensions. As we’ve dealt with how to disable extensions above, here are the steps to dealing with corrupt data:

  1. To launch the “Clear Browsing Data” window, use the hotkey “Ctrl + Shift + Del.”
  2. Check the following boxes, “Cookies and other site data” and “Cached Images and Files.”
  3. Click “OK” and wait while the process completes.

Now try opening Firefox in regular mode to see if that fixes it.

Restart the Firefox Application

  1. Use the hotkey “Ctrl + Shift + Esc” to launch “Task Manager.”
  2. Navigate to “Processes” and scroll down to “Background Process.”
  3. Click on “Firefox” then “End Task.”
  4. Now select the “Details” tab and click “Firefox.exe” then “End Task.”
  5. Confirm whether Firefox can now open.

Remove Firefox User Data

  1. Use the hotkey “Windows + E” to open “File Explorer.”
  2. Navigate to the following location:
  3. Copy your profile folder labeled “Default” and paste it somewhere safe, as it will act as a backup.
  4. Delete the original “Default” folder.
  5. Now check whether the issue is resolved. If not, paste your “Default” back into the Firefox directory.

If the above fixes have not resolved the issue, you can try reinstalling Firefox. Alternatively, you could consider using an alternative browser like Chrome, Opera, or Vivaldi, while Microsoft irons out the browser compatibility issues in Windows 11.

Use a Browser of Your Choice

Microsoft wants us to use Microsoft Edge as the default browser so much that the process of changing it is frustratingly long-winded. However, after listening to feedback, they released an update to make changing the default browser a one-click process. Now, they just have to fix the problems experienced when using a browser of your choice.

What browser do you prefer to use and why? Tell us in the comments section below.

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