Changing the Default Browser in Windows

Default apps window with web browser app chooser on Windows 10 desktop

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 Edge.

If Microsoft Edge 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, you will learn 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.​

If you're running Windows 10, you might be able to change the default browser quickly, without having to launch any of the specific browser apps, as below. First, try typing "default apps" into the Search field, then scroll down to the Web browser heading. Click on the browser that is already default, and you should see a list of all the browsers available on your PC. Simply select the one you would like to open all your web links, and then close out of the window.

If that doesn't work for you, give the following instructions a try, depending on which browser you're running.

The following tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Windows 7.x, 8.x or 10.x operating system. Please note that all Windows 8.x instructions in this tutorial assume that you are running in Desktop Mode.

Google Chrome

Settings submenu in Chrome

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

  • Open your Google Chrome browser.
  • Select 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.
  • Select the button labeled Make Google Chrome the default browser.
Make default button in Google Chrome settings

Your computer will take you to the Default Apps applet where you can choose Google Chrome as your default browser.

Google Chrome app as Default browser in Windows 10

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox Options submenu

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

  • Open your Firefox browser.
  • Select 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. Select 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 Default button.
Make Default button in Firefox

Internet Explorer 11

Internet options submenu for Internet Explorer 11

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

  • Select 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. Select the Programs tab.
  • Locate the first section in the Programs tab, labeled Opening Internet Explorer. Next, select the Make Internet Explorer the default browser link.
Make Internet Explorer the default browser link in Windows 10 Internet Options
  • 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.
Internet Explorer in Default apps window

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.

Maxthon Cloud Browser

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

  • Select Maxthon's menu button, represented by three broken horizontal lines and located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window.
  • Click on the Settings icon.
Settings icon for Maxthon browser
  • When the settings page appears, select the option labeled Set Maxthon Browser as default browser.
Set Maxthon Browser as default browser button in Settings

Microsoft Edge

Settings button in Windows 10 Start menu

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. Select Apps.
Apps button in Windows Settings
  • Scroll down until you locate the Web browser section. In this example, you'll notice that Google Chrome is currently the default option. Select the current option to display the Choose an app menu.
Microsoft Edge default browser option in Default apps applet for Windows 10
  • Select Microsoft Edge

Opera

Settings submenu in Opera browser

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

  • Select 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.

You can utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of selecting the aforementioned menu item: ALT + P.

  • Locate the Default browser section. Next, select the button labeled Make Opera default. Windows will then take you to the Default apps page and change your web choice to Opera.
Make default button in Opera Settings