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How to replace Edge as the default browser in Windows 10 — and why you shouldn’t

Microsoft has been struggling to get people to use its Edge browser for years. Even though the company made Edge the default browser in Windows 10, users left in droves, most of them flocking to Google Chrome — and with good reason. Edge was underpowered, had difficult-to-use features, and offered very few extensions compared to Chrome and Firefox.

Now Microsoft has launched a new version of Edge that’s based on the same technologies that drive Chrome. The new Edge is a much better browser, and there are compelling reasons to use it. But you might still prefer to use Chrome, Firefox, or one of the many other browsers out there.

Note that even if you’ve previously set up another browser to be your default, it might have been changed since then. When there’s a major Windows 10 upgrade, the upgrade recommends switching to Edge, and you might have inadvertently made the switch.

Whatever the reason, if Edge is your default Windows 10 browser, it’s easy to switch. to the browser of your choice. As I’ll show you, it only takes a few minutes.

The instructions in this article assume that you’ve installed the latest version of Windows 10 — version 1909, a.k.a. the November 2019 Update. If you haven’t installed it, the screens you see may vary somewhat from what you see here.

Why you might want to stick with Edge

The new Edge will be automatically delivered to most Windows 10 Home and Pro users via Windows Update, while enterprise users will likely get it only when their IT departments roll it out. If you’ve been using the old Edge as your default browser, the new one will be your default as well. If you’ve set another browser as your default, the new Edge won’t automatically override your preference — but like all browsers, it will ask if you want to make it the default.

It’s probably worth at least trying out the new Edge. The browser offers a clean design with intuitive features. The biggest drawback to the old Edge was its paltry selection of browser extensions, but because the new Edge uses the same rendering engine as Chrome, it can run Chrome extensions, which number in the thousands. And unlike Chrome, Edge offers tracking prevention, which blocks ad providers from tracking you from website to website.

In my tests, Edge also feels faster than Chrome and uses on average 14% less RAM. And it has some interesting features worth trying, such as the ability to launch a website as if it’s an app.

All that said, you might not be interested in trying out the new Edge, or you might try it and decide you still prefer Chrome, Firefox, or another browser. You may, for example, like Firefox’s ability to alert you when a website covertly uses your computer’s processor to mine cryptocurrency in the background, without your knowledge. Or you might like the way Chrome’s Omnibox (the place you type URLs and searches) can do things like perform math functions, convert currencies or answer questions such as naming the capitals of U.S. states without having to search the internet.

If you want to use another browser as your default, here’s what to do.

How to designate another browser as your default

The first thing you need to do to switch to another browser as your default is to install the other browser on your system. After that’s done, click the Windows 10 Start button and click the Settings icon that appears on the left-hand side of the screen. (It looks like a little gear.) You can also type “settings” into the search box and click the Settings result that appears at the top of the screen.

change edge default win10 1 settings IDG

In the Settings app, select Apps > Default apps. The Default apps screen appears. It shows the default apps for email, maps, playing music and videos, viewing photos, and more. To change the default browser, you’ll have to scroll down toward the bottom of your screen.

change edge default win10 2 default apps IDG

Near the bottom of the screen, you’ll see Microsoft Edge under the “Web browser” listing. Click the Microsoft Edge icon and you’ll see a pop-up with a list of your installed browsers.

change edge default win10 3 choose new browser IDG

(Side note: The pop-up also has a “Look for an app in the Microsoft Store” option, but if you click it, you won’t find Chrome, Firefox, Opera or any other browser you’ve likely ever heard of. Clicking it launches a search of the Windows App Store for the term “http,” which turns up a motley collection of apps, from file downloaders to an app that dims your Windows background to make it easier to view videos. There are also some little-known browsers listed, such as Super-Fast Browser and BlueSky Browser. Try them out if you like, but keep in mind that they’re Windows Store apps, and as a general rule, Windows Store apps are underpowered compared to desktop apps like Chrome, Firefox and Opera.)

Click the browser that you’d like to be your default browser. No need to restart; your work is done.

This story was originally launched in September 2017 and most recently updated in February 2020.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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How to Change Windows 10 File Associations and Default Programs

Windows 10 opens different file types using a particular program. It does this through file associations, where a program or app has been set as the default for that file type.

If you want to set default programs and change file associations in Windows 10, we’ll show you all the methods to do this.

What Are Windows 10 File Associations?

Every file on your system is stored in a particular format, like JPG image files and DOC Word files.

Certain programs can only open certain files. For example, an image file like JPG can’t be opened in a word processor like Word. Instead, you’d open the image in something like the Windows 10 Photos app.


Rather than having to specify which program you want to use to open a file every time you access it, Windows assigns each file type a default program. These defaults can be changed by the user, or a program could set its own when installed.

That’s why it sometimes becomes necessary to adjust your file type associations. Happily, it’s easy to do this.

Let’s find out how you can see what type your files are and then the different methods to change the Windows 10 file associations.

What Type Is My File?

Before you can change file associations, you need to know what file types you are storing.

First, open File Explorer and navigate to the folder which contains your file. Then, right click the file and select Properties.

A new window with details about that file will open. Type of file will tell you what the file extension of the file is. Opens with will tell you what program it’ll open in.

Windows 10 file properties

You can set it so that the file extension appears with the file name in File Explorer. To do this, open File Explorer and click the View tab. Then tick the box for File name extensions.

How to Change File Type Associations in Windows 10

There are three quick and easy methods within Windows to change the file type associations.

1. Open With

You can change the file type associations direct from the File Explorer. To do so, right click the file and then hover Open with.

Windows 10 Open with

You’ll see a list of programs, which you can use to open the file, but this will just be a one-off and won’t change your settings permanently. To make a permanent change, select Choose another app.

Windows 10 choosing another program to open files with

Now select the application from the list that you want to use to open the file type of the file you’ve chosen. If you don’t see the program you need, scroll down and select More apps for a wider selection.

If it’s still not there, select Look for another app on this PC. You can then go through your Program Files and locate the executable for the program you want.

When selected, tick Always use this app to open .X files at the bottom of the window. This will permanently change the file type association. Then click OK.

2. Set Default File Associations in Settings

The best place to comprehensively change file associations and set default apps is through Settings.

To begin, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Apps > Default apps.

Windows 10 default apps

Here you can set and use default apps for things like email, maps, music, and so on. Click the application to select a different one from the list.

You can click Reset to put everything back to “Microsoft recommended defaults.” As you might expect, this means Microsoft-created Windows 10 default programs like Groove Music for music and Edge for web browsing.

Scroll down and you will see three options to have refined control over file associations:

  1. Choose default applications by file type
  2. Choose default applications by protocol
  3. Set defaults by app

Windows 10 choose default apps by file type

Choosing by file type lets you set specific programs for JPG, DOC, and so on. This is the option you most likely need.

Choosing by protocol is for actions or links. For example, when encountering a URL:calculator link, you can set which program is used. The vast majority of these will be pretty application specific anyway, so it’s rare that you’ll need to change them.

Finally, setting by app lets you manage an entire program and its associated file types and protocols from one place.

3. Delete File Associations in Command Prompt

It isn’t possible to reset file associations through Settings. For that, you need to use Command Prompt.

Press Start, type cmd and it’ll find Command Prompt. Right click the entry and click Run as administrator.

Command Prompt assoc

Type assoc, press Enter, and it’ll bring up all file types and their associations.

To quickly check a specific file type, input:

assoc .ext

Replace ext with the file type. For example, input assoc .jpg and you will see what program opens JPG files.

To remove the association from the program, type:

assoc .ext=

Again, replace ext. You can type the first command to double check it’s worked, as you should see a “file association not found” error.

Back Up and Restore File Type Associations

Windows 10 has been known to reset default apps

How to Change Default Apps and Settings in Windows 10

How to Change Default Apps and Settings in Windows 10

Here’s how to change default programs in Windows 10 if you’re not happy with how the OS behaves out of the box.
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by changing file type associations after every update. The best thing you can do to fix this is back up your file type associations and restore them once you discover that a Windows 10 update

How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10

How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10

For control freaks, Windows Update is a nightmare. It works in the background, and keeps your system safe and running smoothly. We show you how it works and what you can customize.
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has messed with them.

1. Using Default Programs Editor

The easiest method to back up and restore file type associations is by using a third-party utility called Default Programs Editor.

Once downloaded and installed, launch it and click Create or restore a backup of registry settings.

Default Programs Editor registry backup

Click Create a backup. It will process and add an entry to the table with the date and time.

When it’s time to restore, return to this screen, click the entry, and click Restore selected backup. Finally, restart your computer.

2. Using the Registry

You can also go directly into the registry to back up file type associations. However, this is a bit more complicated, and it can sometimes result in a permission error when restoring certain associations. As such, use it as a last resort.

Press Windows key + R to open Run. Enter regedit and hit Enter to launch the Registry Editor. Now browse to the following key:


Right-click FileExts (or the sub-folder you want), select Export, and choose a destination and file name for your .reg file backup.

Export Registry Key

Once you need to restore this backup, right-click the respective .reg file that you saved previously and select Merge. This will overwrite the current settings in your registry and restore your previously backed up preferences.

Take Full Control Over File Associations

With these methods you’ll have full control over your file type associations, ensuring that all your files open in the most suitable program by default. Be wary when installing a new program as some of them will request to become the default program for a set of file types, and you might not want that.

If you want to know more about file types, check out how to know when to use which file format

Know When to Use Which File Format: PNG vs. JPG, DOC vs. PDF, MP3 vs. FLAC

Know When to Use Which File Format: PNG vs. JPG, DOC vs. PDF, MP3 vs. FLAC

Do you know the differences between JPG and PNG, or MP3 and FLAC? If you don’t know which file formats to use, let us guide you through their distinctions.
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How to Save Office Documents to This PC by Default

Microsoft Word logo.

Microsoft Office wants you to save your documents to online locations like OneDrive or SharePoint. That’s the default in applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Here’s how to change the default save location back Documents or another folder on “This PC.”

These instructions apply to the latest versions of Microsoft Office on Windows 10, whether you have an Office 365 subscription or you purchased a package like Office 2019.

To get started, open an Office application like Microsoft Word if it isn’t already open. Click the “File” menu at the top-left corner of the application’s window.

Opening the File menu in Microsoft Word.

Click the “Options” link at the bottom-left corner of the window. (If you’ve just opened an application like Word and you’re prompted to start a new document from a template or open an existing document, you can just click “Options” immediately without clicking “File” First.)

Opening the Options window in Microsoft Word.

Select the “Save” category on the left side of the window. Under Save documents, enable the “Save to Computer by default” option.

Saving documents to the local computer by default in Microsoft Word.

Office will save your documents to your user account’s Documents folder by default. This is generally C:UsersNAMEDocuments.

If you’d like to change the default folder, you can select a new location by clicking “Browse” to the right of “Default File Location.”

Choosing a default save folder for documents in Microsoft Word.

When you’re done, click “OK” to save your changes.

Clicking the OK button to save your changes in Word's options window.

With this option enabled, Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will save documents to “This PC” by default.

Office's save dialog with your documents folder selected by default.

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How to Change the Default Shell to Bash on macOS Catalina

Terminal window on a macOS Catalina desktop.

With macOS Catalina, Apple is now using Zsh as the default shell. We love Zsh, but the trusty old Bash shell is still included with macOS, and you can quickly switch back to Bash if you prefer.

Zsh is only the default shell on newly created user accounts, so any existing accounts you have on an upgraded  Mac will still use Bash by default unless you change it. Each user account has its own default shell preference.

From the Terminal

To change a user account’s default shell on macOS, simply run the chsh -s (change shell) command in a Terminal window.

Change the default shell to Bash by running the following command:

chsh -s /bin/bash

You’ll have to enter your user account’s password. Finally, close the Terminal window and reopen it. You’ll be using Bash instead of Zsh.

Changing the default shell to Bash on macOS Catalina.

Change the default shell back to Zsh by running this command:

chsh -s /bin/zsh

Enter your password when prompted. After you close the terminal window and reopen it, you’ll be using Zsh.

Changing the default shell to Zsh on macOS Catalina.

You can see a list of included shells you can select by running the following command:

cat /etc/shells

Listing available shells in macOS Catalina's terminal.

From System Preferences

You can also change this option graphically from System Preferences if you prefer.

Head to System Preferences > Users & Groups on your Mac. Click the lock icon and enter your password. Hold the Ctrl key, click your user account’s name in the left pane, and select “Advanced Options.”

Opening Advanced Options in Users & Groups on macOS.

Click the “Login Shell” dropdown box and select “/bin/bash” to use Bash as your default shell or “/bin/zsh” to use Zsh as your default shell. Click “OK” to save your changes.

Changing the default login shell graphically in macOS Catalina.

Bash on macOS Is Still Outdated

Note that the version of Bash (Bourne Again SHell) included with macOS is still pretty outdated, however. If you run bash --version , you’ll see that Catalina includes Bash 3.2.57 when Bash 5.0 is the latest version. Newer versions are licensed under the GPLv3 license, while Apple still distributes a version licensed under GPLv2.

In contrast, the version of Zsh (Z shell) included with macOS (check with zsh --version ), is Zsh 5.7.2, which is the latest version at the time of Catalina’s release.

Viewing the versions of Bash and Zsh on macOS Catalina.

If you want the latest version of Bash, you can install it yourself via Homebrew.

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How to Make Chrome Your Default Browser

Google Chrome logo

With a market share of 64 percent on mobile devices and 67 percent for desktop/laptop so far in 2019, Google Chrome is the most installed web browser used today. Here’s how you can make Chrome your device’s default browser.

In this guide, we will show you how to set Chrome as the default web browser on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Note: To set Chrome as your default browser, you must download and install it first. Windows and macOS can download it from Google’s website while iOS and Android use its respected app stores.

Make Google Chrome the Default Browser on Windows

Open up System settings by pressing Windows key+I, and then click on “Apps.”

Open the Settings app and click on "Apps."

From the pane on the left side, click “Default Apps.”

Click "Default Apps."

Locate the Web Browser section, click on your current default browser, and then scroll through the list and select “Google Chrome.”

Under Web Browser, click the current default, and then click on Google Chrome from the list that appears.

Close Settings and that’s it. Chrome is now your default web browser.

Make Google Chrome the Default Browser on macOS

Fire up Chrome and click Chrome > Preferences from the menu bar or press Cmd+ to go to the settings menu directly.

RELATED: Chrome Shortcuts You Should Know

Click Chrome > Preferences from the menu bar.

From the panel on the left side, click “Default Browser.”

From the left pane, click "Default Browser."

Under the Default Browser section, click “Make Default.”

Click "Make Default."

A dialog box will appear asking if you want to change your default web browser. Click “Use Chrome.”

Click "Use Chrome."

If you don’t see the “Make default” button, then Chrome is already your default web browser.

Make Google Chrome the Default Browser on iPhone/iPad (Kind Of)

While you can’t override the default browser on iOS or iPadOS—without Jailbreaking—you can make it a lot easier to access Google Chrome by adding the app to your device’s app dock.

First, make room on the dock by removing an app to free up space. To do this, long-press and hold an app on the dock until the icon starts to jiggle and an “X” appears. Next, drag the app up, and release it onto the home screen.

iOS iPadOS Long Press Move App

Now, press and hold the Chrome app and then drag and release it onto the dock.

iOS iPadOS Move App to Dock

Tap on “Done” in the top-right corner to save your changes.

iOS iPadOS Tap Done to Save

If this doesn’t quite do it for you, and you still don’t feel like Jailbreaking, you can use the built-in Shortcuts app to automate the link-opening process.

First, add the “Open in Chrome” Shortcut to your device. Once in the app, the Shortcut will be added to the phone or tablet’s Share Sheet.

The next time you open a link in Safari, tap the share button at the bottom of the browser. Scroll down in the Share Sheet and select “Open in Chrome.” The webpage’s URL will be copied to the clipboard and then pasted and opened in the Chrome app.

iOS iPadOS Share Sheet Open in Chrome

Make Google Chrome the Default Browser on Android

By default, most Android phones come with Google Chrome already pre-installed as the default web browser. However, some devices have custom ROMs that override browser defaults. You may need to install Google Chrome from the Play Store if it isn’t already installed.

Next, open the Android Settings app, scroll until you see “Apps,” and then tap on it.

Open your Settings app and tap on "Apps."

Now, tap on “Default Apps.”

Tap "Default Apps."

Scroll until you see the setting labeled “Browser” and then tap on it to choose your default browser.

Scroll down and tap on "Browser."

From the list of browsers, select “Chrome.”

From the list provided, tap on Chrome.

You can close the settings. The next time you tap a link, it will open inside of Chrome.

That’s all there is to it. Now, whenever you open a link from an external app, Chrome will be chosen as the default web browser for the job.

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