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Windows 11 ousts app that blocks Microsoft Edge from force opening

Windows 11
Windows 11 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Microsoft Edge's greatest rival isn't Google Chrome. It's EdgeDeflector, an app developed by Daniel Aleksandersen that thwarts Windows from force-opening Edge and launches your default browser instead. EdgeDeflector is an oft-recommended program among Windows users who are frustrated with Edge launching without their consent — and Microsoft is determined to stop its momentum.

Digital Trends points out that a new Windows 11 build within the Insider Program is now blocking apps that obstruct Windows' interception mechanism that changes users' web browsers, and of course, that includes EdgeDeflector.

Microsoft cracks down on apps that threaten Edge

As we mentioned in Why I Hate Windows 11 and our Windows 11 review, the new OS makes it difficult for users to change their default browser. On top of that, some users expressed frustration with links in the Widgets app opening with Edge.

As a remedy to this issue, many Windows users recommend EdgeDeflector. In order to understand EdgeDeflector's function, you need to understand how Microsoft "force opens" Edge.

The Redmond-based tech giant swaps out links in the Windows shell with "microsoft-edge:" instead of using "https:". Edge is the sole web browser that recognizes these links, so although Chrome may be set as your default, Edge will launch instead.

EdgeDeflector thwarts this by rewriting the intercepted links back to "https:" — and Microsoft isn't having it. "Something changed between Windows 11 builds 22483 and 22494," EdgeDeflector's developer Aleksandersen said on Ctrl Blog. "You can no longer bypass Microsoft Edge using apps like EdgeDeflector."

With the new Windows 11 build, even with EdgeDeflector installed, the OS silently blocks the app and continues to launch Edge. "Microsoft doesn’t even bother throwing up the 'An app default was reset' error message," Aleksandersen said.

While Aleksandersen could implement workarounds to bypass Windows 11's new block feature, he said that it would cause destructive changes to the OS. As such, he has no plans to update EdgeDeflector.

EdgeDeflector's creator concluded his scathing blog post by advising Windows users to switch to Linux. "Microsoft still charges 200 USD for a Windows license while simultaneously filling the operating system with ads and crapware," Aleksandersen lamented.

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!