Microsoft blocks EdgeDeflector in Windows 11

Jamie Jamie (16)
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We all have our favorite browsers, but it's becoming clear that Microsoft is less concerned with its users' personal preferences and more focused on forcing people to use Edge. What at first it looked like a bug, Microsoft has confirmed that a Windows 11 software update is on the way which will block popular app EdgeDeflector.

Several actions in Windows, including using the Start menu search function and the new widgets panel, will bypass users' default browser settings in favor of Microsoft Edge and Bing. Typically, a user could employ an app such as EdgeDeflector to stop Microsoft from redirecting them to Edge, but that loophole has been closed.

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EdgeDeflector is an app developed by Daniel Aleksandersen with over 500,000 users, that intercepts URIs (uniform resource identifiers) in Microsoft's code that would otherwise auto-redirect a user to Microsoft Edge. Instead, EdgeDeflector redirects the URI to the user's default browser of choice. Here's a helpful explainer if you want to know more!

"So, what does this mean for EdgeDeflector? The program will remain available for download, but I won’t attempt to update it until Microsoft reverses its position."

Unfortunately, it seems as if Microsoft has fully blocked EdgeDeflector and similar apps in it's latest update. Aleksandersen initially noticed the changes in Microsoft's Insider Preview build last week, documenting the changes in a blog post on November 11. According to him, the changes are so dramatic that he will no longer update EdgeDeflector.

"So, what does this mean for EdgeDeflector? The program will remain available for download, but I won’t attempt to update it until Microsoft reverses its position."

Aleksandersen continues on to say that any workarounds would "require making destructive changes to Windows."

While the 500,000 EdgeDeflector users isn't an insignificant number, Microsoft seems to be making this change in response to others who have begun using similar methods to block Microsoft's attempted redirect to Edge.

Mozilla's popular browser Firefox is now imitating EdgeDeflector's functionality, and it's userbase of 200 million seems to have expedited a patch from Microsoft.

A Mozilla spokesperson, in a statement to The Verge, said, "People deserve choice. They should have the ability to simply and easily set defaults and their choice of default browser should be respected."

It's unclear how this issue will be resolved, but with enough pushback Microsoft might be forced to reverse their decision, and allow users the full and free choice to use their preferred browser.

Jamie Jamie (16)
0

With remote work becoming a more standard form of full-time employment, digital organization is becoming more and more essential.