Update: Microsoft made it easier to change your default web browser on Windows 11 in March 2022. Specifically, the change was made in the KB5011563 update, which was released on March 28th, 2022. The process is now much simpler.
Microsoft hasn’t been shy about promoting the use of its Edge browser in Windows 11. By default, Edge will open whenever you click a web link or open an HTML file. Luckily, you can change that in Settings—even though Microsoft makes the process non-obvious and more difficult than you might expect.
To get started, open the Settings app. You can do this quickly by pressing Windows+i on your keyboard. Or you can open Start, search “Settings,” and click the Settings app icon.
In Settings, click “Apps” in the sidebar, then select “Default Apps” in the list.
In the search box below “Set defaults for applications,” type the name of the browser you’d like to make the default browser in Windows 11 (for example, “Firefox” or “Chrome.”) Then, click its name in the results below.
On the browser’s “Default Apps” settings page, you’ll see a list of file extensions (such as .HTM, .HTML, and .SHTML) that can potentially be associated with the browser.
Click the “Set Default” button near the top of the window to make this application your default browser. It will become the default for all the file types listed here.
(If you don’t see this option, you haven’t installed the KB5011563 update yet.)
Once you see the checkmark appear in the box, you can close the Settings window.
If you haven’t installed KB5011563 yet, you’ll need to click each one of these file types and select the browser of your choice. To get started, click the app box just below “.HTM.”
You’ll see a pop-up window that asks you how you want to open files of that type from now on. Select the browser you want to use from the list, then click “OK.”
When you click the first file type, you’ll see a pop-up warning from Microsoft asking you to reconsider switching away from Microsoft’s Edge browser. Click “Switch Anyway.”
After you change the association with .HTM, repeat the steps above with .HTML, .SHTML, .XHT, .XHTML, HTTP, and HTTPS. Click each entry, then set the association to the browser of your choice. When you’re done, you’ll have a default apps list full of associations to the browser you want to use.
After that, close Settings. The next time you double click an HTML file or encounter a web link, Windows will launch the browser you selected. Happy browsing!