How to Change the Default Browser in Windows

1
Windows Default Browser

web browser
SunnyStock/Shutterstock

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system.

An informal poll of our readers made it abundantly clear to me that most people tend to have multiple browsers installed on their PC. While each one boasts their own unique pros, everyone has their favorite go-to option.

Whenever you select a link in an email, click on a shortcut to a URL or perform any other action that causes a browser to launch, Windows will automatically open the default option. If you've never modified this setting, the default browser is most likely Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

If the "blue E" is not your everyday browser of choice, or if you've inadvertently designated another browser as the default, changing this setting is fairly simple but varies by application. In this tutorial we show you how to make many popular browsers the default option in Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x. Some browsers may prompt you to make them the default browser immediately upon launch, depending on their current configuration. These scenarios are not covered in the tutorial as, when they occur, are self-explanatory.

Please note that all Windows 8.x instructions in this tutorial assume that you are running in Desktop Mode.

2
Google Chrome

windows default browser chrome
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system.

To set Google Chrome as your default Windows browser, take the following steps.

  • Open your Google Chrome browser.
  • Click on the Chrome menu button, represented by three horizontal lines and located in the upper right hand corner of the browser window.
  • When the drop-down menu appears, select the Settings option. Please note that you can also access Chrome's settings interface by entering the following shortcut command in the browser's Omnibox, also known as the address bar: chrome://settings
  • Scroll down, if necessary, until you locate the Default browser section.
  • Click on the button labeled Make Google Chrome the default browser, circled in the example above.

3
Mozilla Firefox

windows default browser firefox
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system.

To set Mozilla Firefox as your default Windows browser, take the following steps.

  • Open your Firefox browser.
  • Click on the Firefox menu button, represented by three horizontal lines and located in the upper right hand corner of the browser window.
  • When the pop-out menu appears, select Options.
  • Firefox's Options dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Click on the General icon, if necessary.
  • The first section in the General tab, labeled Startup and highlighted in the example above, contains settings related to your default browser. Select the Make Firefox My Default Browser button.

4
Internet Explorer 11

windows default browser IE
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system.

To set IE11 as your default Windows browser, take the following steps.

  • Click on the Gear icon, also known as the Action or Tools menu, located in the upper right hand corner of your browser window.
  • When the drop-down menu appears, select Internet options.
  • The Internet Options dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Click on the Programs tab.
  • Locate the first section in the Programs tab, labeled Opening Internet Explorer. Next, click on the Make Internet Explorer the default browser link.
  • The Set Default Programs window, part of Windows Control Panel, should now be displayed. Select Internet Explorer from the Programs list -- located in the left menu pane of this window.
  • To set IE11 as the default application for all file types and protocols that can be opened by a browser, click on the Set this program as default link -- circled in the example above.

If you would like to choose only a specific set of file types and protocols to be opened by IE11, click on the Choose defaults for this program link.

5
Maxthon Cloud Browser

windows default browser maxthon
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system.

To set Maxthon Cloud Browser as your default Windows browser, take the following steps.

  • Click on Maxthon's menu button, represented by three broken horizontal lines and located in the upper right hand corner of your browser window.
  • When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Set as default browser -- circled in the example above.

6
Microsoft Edge

microsoft edge default browser
Scott Orgera

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system.

To set Microsoft Edge as your default browser in Windows 10, take the following steps.

  • Click on the Windows Start button, located in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. When the pop-out menu appears, select Settings.
  • The Windows Settings interface should now be visible. Click on Default apps, found in the left menu pane and highlighted in the screenshot above.
  • Scroll down until you locate the Web browser section. In this example, you'll notice that Google Chrome is currently my default option. Click on the current option to display the Choose an app menu.
  • Select Microsoft Edge

7
Opera

windows default browser opera
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system.

To set Opera as your default Windows browser, take the following steps.

  • Click on the Opera menu button, located in the upper left hand corner of your browser window.
  • When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings. Please note that you can utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of selecting the aforementioned menu item: ALT + P
  • Locate the Default browser section. Next, click on the button labeled Make Opera my default browser -- circled in the example above.

8
Safari

windows default browser safari
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system.

To set Safari as your default Windows browser, take the following steps.

  • Click on the Gear icon, located in the upper right hand corner of your browser window. When the drop-down menu appears, click on Preferences.... Please note that you can utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of selecting the aforementioned menu item: CTRL + COMMA
  • Safari's Preferences dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Click on the General icon, if it is not already selected.
  • Click on the drop-down menu accompanying the Default web browser option.
  • When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Safari.