Changing the Default Browser in Windows

Pick the browser you like best

When you select a link in an email, 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 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. Select the browser that is already the 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 instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Google Chrome

Settings submenu in Chrome

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

  1. Open your Google Chrome browser.
  2. Select the Chrome menu button, represented by three horizontal lines and located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window.
  3. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Settings option.
  4. Scroll down, if necessary, until you locate the Default browser section.
  5. Select the button labeled Make Google Chrome the default browser.

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.

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

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox Options submenu

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

  1. Open your Firefox browser.
  2. Select the Firefox menu button, represented by three horizontal lines and located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window.
  3. When the pop-out menu appears, select Options.
  4. Firefox's Options dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Select the General icon, if necessary.
  5. 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.

Internet Explorer 11

Internet options submenu for Internet Explorer 11

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

  1. Select the Gear icon, also known as the Action or Tools menu, located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window.
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select Internet options.
  3. The Internet Options dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Select the Programs tab.
  4. Locate the first section in the Programs tab, labeled Opening Internet Explorer. Next, select 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.

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

Maxthon Cloud Browser

Settings icon for Maxthon browser

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

  1. Select Maxthon's menu button, represented by three broken horizontal lines and located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window.
  2. Select the Settings icon.
  3. 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.

  1. Select the Start button, located in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. When the pop-out menu appears, select Settings.
  2. Select Apps.
  3. Scroll down until you locate the Web browser section.
  4. Select the current option to display the Choose an app menu.
  5. Select Microsoft Edge

Opera

Settings submenu in Opera browser

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

  1. Select the Opera menu button, located in the upper left-hand corner of your browser window.
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select the option labeled Settings.
  3. 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