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posted by martyb on Friday August 20 2021, @12:46PM   Printer-friendly
from the tigers-never-change-their-stripes dept.

Windows 11 Is Making It Absurdly Difficult to Change Browsers
In a page ripped right out of the '90s, Microsoft reminds us that it's still engaging in the browser wars.

[....] there have been plenty of chances to dive into the OS to see what's next from Microsoft. And there's evidence of the same old story. Namely, Microsoft wants to make it hard for you to use a browser that isn't Edge.

The Verge reports on how convoluted the new process is to change the default browser in Windows 11. Like in Windows 10, you'll get a prompt when you click on a web link asking you to choose an app. But unless you specifically tell the system that you'd like to switch browsers, it will assume you're okay with Microsoft Edge as the default.

[....] It gets worse: if you don't remember on the initial pop-up, you'll have to dig into the settings to change the default app for every specific file type. This can get tedious! It means you'll have to tell Windows which app should open an HTM, HTML, PDF, SVG, and XHTML file—and that's only a sampling of the file types that a browser can open. Additional screenshots show Windows 11 still nags the user to try Microsoft Edge when switching browsers.

From the same people who brought us IE 6, the bane of web developers everywhere, now comes Edge — the browser with the swirl toilet flushing icon.


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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Friday August 20 2021, @05:04PM (5 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 20 2021, @05:04PM (#1168899) Journal

    "Absurdly difficult" ?? Settings, Apps, Default apps.

    Nice. That's how it's apparently supposed to work.

    For some reason, I decided to play around with Win11 in virtual machines. I've installed half a dozen (or more) machines now. In one machine, it works as you say it should work. In another machine, it simply doesn't. You walk through the steps, close all the windows, and you believe that $favoritebrowser is now default. Right up until you click a link somewhere, and Edge pops up again.

    Yes, it's absurdly difficult to customize Win11 to your taste.

    Oh, wait - did you think that Edge was the only application to do that? Believe me, there's more.

    How about you fire up DISM, and uninstall some of the baggage? Guess what - you've got to turn off updates, or all the baggage will be tossed right back at you. OK, maybe not all the baggage, I've not seen XBox crap reinstalled, but you get the idea.

    And, privacy? Win11 is the most invasive operating system I've ever seen. We only thought that Win10 was bad.

    --
    We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +3  
       Interesting=2, Informative=1, Total=3
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20 2021, @06:24PM (4 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 20 2021, @06:24PM (#1168953)

    And, privacy? Win11 is the most invasive operating system I've ever seen. We only thought that Win10 was bad.

    Would you kindly elaborate?

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Friday August 20 2021, @06:59PM (3 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 20 2021, @06:59PM (#1168966) Journal

      Start with all of the telemetry of Win10, and add a little more.

      Throw in an IE-like browser that is embedded into the system, and impossible to uninstall by any means. The browser reports things that telemetry misses. That browser defaults to Bing search, Bing maps, Bing everything, and it is difficult to change them. (As I pointed out above, not every installation is equally difficult to change defaults, but the default is to be difficult.)

      Add a dozen desktop applications (XBox, Voice, Camera, chat, and more) all designed to keep you inside the walled garden - and make each of them report usage back to Microsoft.

      Mind, now, that this is Win11 Pro. People running Pro have tools available that they are expected to know how to use, starting with DISM. Wait for the Home edition, the Ultimate edition, and whatever else Microsoft decides to offer. Users won't have all the tools available in Pro, such as group policy editor, to mitigate the spying. Worse, users won't likely know how to use such tools if they are available.

      Back to Edge for a moment. Do a fresh install, fire up Edge, and do a search for "download Firefox". Number one top hit (from Bing) will be, "Microsoft recommends that you use Edge as your default browser to keep you safe on the internet" or words to that effect. FUD is just FUD.

      Then search for chat applications, such as Hexchat. You've grown somewhat accustomed to Microsoft referring to applications as "apps". So, you want Hechat. You click on the github link, and you see "windows 10 app". Click on it because "app", and you're taken to the Microsoft Store. Here, you learn that you can download it for $9.99. But, I thought Hexchat was free? Free as in beer, and free as in rights? Gotta scroll down a bit to find the disclaimer that Hexchat is free, and payment is optional. But, back to Github. You can download "Win7+ installer" for Hexchat. Yeah, it works, but I was mislead for a short bit because "app". But, Microsoft owns Github, so putting up some psychological guidance to purchase a free application from the Microsoft store makes sense. And, either way, you can be sure that you are being tracked and logged, and Microsoft knows exactly what is installed on your system.

      It goes on - but I haven't actually documented anything at all. Each person has to experience Win11, and make up their own minds. Personally, using Win11 as a daily driver would drive me bonkers.

      --
      We've finally beat Medicare! - Houseplant in Chief
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Dr Spin on Friday August 20 2021, @10:32PM

        by Dr Spin (5239) on Friday August 20 2021, @10:32PM (#1169074)

        You've grown somewhat accustomed to Microsoft referring to applications as "apps". So, you want Hechat. You click on the github link, and you see "windows 10 app". Click on it because "app", and you're taken to the Microsoft Store. Here, you learn that you can download it for $9.99. But, I thought Hexchat was free? Free as in beer, and free as in rights? Gotta scroll down a bit to find the disclaimer that Hexchat is free, and payment is optional.

        And you are surprised mass shootings are a thing in America?

        --
        Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by EEMac on Saturday August 21 2021, @03:29AM

        by EEMac (6423) on Saturday August 21 2021, @03:29AM (#1169160)

        Add a dozen desktop applications (XBox, Voice, Camera, chat, and more) all designed to keep you inside the walled garden - and make each of them report usage back to Microsoft.

        This is experienced computer user thinking. "I know what I want my computer to do, get this other crap out of my way."

        Novices and several other types of people are more likely to think, "Look at all the neat stuff that comes with my new computer!"

        If it helps, I'm firmly in the experienced user camp. I stifle my nerd rage multiple times a month to keep using Windows. But Microsoft does this for solid reasons.

      • (Score: 2) by corey on Sunday August 22 2021, @10:04PM

        by corey (2202) on Sunday August 22 2021, @10:04PM (#1169690)

        Thanks for the run down, that was interesting (you’re already at +5). I think Win10 is to be my last at home.