How did Mozilla beat Microsoft's default browser protection in Windows?

Mozilla has quietly made it easier to switch to Firefox on Windows lately, while Microsoft offers a way to switch default browsers on Windows 10, it's more complicated than a simple one-click process to switch to Edge. This one-click process isn't officially available to anyone other than Microsoft, and Mozilla seems to be tired of the situation.

In Firefox version 91, which was released on August 10, Mozilla reversed the way Microsoft sets Edge as the default in Windows 10 and enabled Firefox to quickly make itself the default. Prior to this change, Firefox users will be sent to the Settings pane in Windows 10 then they have to select Firefox as the default browser and ignore Microsoft's plea to keep Edge.

Mozilla reverse engineering means that you can now set Firefox as the default from within the browser, and it does all the work in the background without any additional prompts. From hacking default apps, Microsoft tells us that this is not supported in Windows.

Mozilla is clearly tired of the more cumbersome way to set up a default browser, a process that Microsoft makes more difficult in Windows 11. People should have the ability to simply and easily set default settings, but they don't, a Mozilla spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge All operating systems must offer official developer support for default so that people can easily set their apps as default apps.

Since that didn't happen in Windows 10 and 11, Firefox relies on other aspects of the Windows environment to give people an experience similar to what Windows provides for Edge when users choose Firefox as their default browser.

Mozilla has been trying to get Microsoft to improve default browser settings in Windows since its open letter to Microsoft in 2015. Nothing has changed, and Windows 11 is now making it difficult to switch default browsers. This appears to be the last straw, as Mozilla has started implementing its changes in Firefox Shortly after Windows 11 was revealed in June.

So far, Google, Vivaldi, Opera, and other Chromium-based browsers haven't followed in Mozilla's footsteps, and it's not clear exactly how Microsoft will respond. Microsoft has some real security reasons to protect against malware with anti-hijacking software, but by allowing Edge to easily switch default settings, it's undermining competing browser vendors who simply want a level playing field Windows 11 makes this playing field more complex, competitors don't feel happy.

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