- Aug 17, 2014
When Microsoft launched Windows 10, one of the things that the company did introduce was the classic version of Edge. Edge would replace the aging Internet Explorer browser along the way.
To give Edge a boost, Microsoft decided to invent the microsoft-edge:// protocol and started to use it in some internal applications. The protocol was designed to open links only in Edge.
via Windows 11 blocks Edge browser competitors from opening links
In Windows 11, Microsoft introduced the new Chromium-based Microsoft Edge web browser. Just like its classic version, it is pushed through exclusive use of the microsoft-edge:// protocol. The new News and Interests widget in Windows 10 and the Widgets app in Windows 11 use the microsoft-edge protocol exclusively, even though they display standard web content and links.
To make things even less user friendly, Microsoft changed the way the default browser is set. On Windows 10, users could set a different browser as the default, and it would open all links that browsers can open, with the exception of locked microsoft-edge protocol links.
In Windows 11, Microsoft removed that straightforward option. All that is left for users is to set each protocol individually. If you want to switch completely from Edge to Firefox, Brave or Vivaldi, you have to set HTTP, HTTPS, HTML, PDF, WebP, SHTML, FTP, HTM, Mailto, News and others, manually to the desired browser.
It is clear that Microsoft won't reverse its position on the change without outside pressure. Users of Windows 11 are blocked from making changes that they want to make. The only viable option at this point, other than not installing the operating system in first place, is to ignore programs and apps that use the internal protocol.
Microsoft is blocking other browsers from opening links that use the artificial microsoft-edge protocol in the latest Windows 11 builds.