Nearly everyone has a favourite web browser. Stats would suggest that's Google Chrome for most people, while the likes of Firefox and Opera have a much smaller but loyal user base. Safari is relatively popular on macOS, while Microsoft is trying to have a similar impact with its new version of Edge. 

While you may have several of these installed, one will likely be your go-to whenever you want to browse the web. This is the one you'll want links from emails and messaging apps to always open in too. 

While Microsoft continues to highly recommend Edge if you're using Windows 10, it's relatively easy to choose your own default browser. 

How to change your default browser in Windows 10

Often, when you first install a new web browser it will almost immediately ask you if you want to set it as the default. This is a good opportunity to do so, as well as to import things such as bookmarks, browsing history and other preferences from your old browser.

If you skipped over this or declined it intentionally but want to make it your default, here's how to do it.

  1. Head to Settings > Apps and select 'Default apps' in the left pane
  2. Scroll down to the 'Web browser' heading, where you'll see the icon and name of whichever browser is currently set as default
    Windows 10 default apps
  3. Click it and you'll see the list of currently installed apps that you can choose from. Select the relevant one

That's it! Now, any links you click on in other apps will always open in the browser that you've chosen. For even more control, you can choose which file types open where by clicking 'Choose default applications by file type'. 

How to change your default browser in Windows 7

If you still happen to be using Windows 7 despite it no longer being supported, the same option is available in Control Panel. Choose Programs > Default Programs > Set Default Programs and scroll down to find the browser of your choice. Then just click "Set this program as default".

Default program Windows

As you can see, you can easily choose other default programs for other tasks. If you use the Control Panel you can also click on 'Choose defaults for this program'. This will bring up a list of all the protocols and file types that can be opened.

Here you can choose which extensions you want to open in that application. Hit 'Save' when you're done.

In Windows 10, you can do the same thing in the Settings app by scrolling down in the Default apps section until you see those options:

How to set default web browser in Windows

Microsoft previously trialled a setting where all links from the Outlook desktop app would open in Microsoft Edge and couldn't be changed. Fortunately, it didn't go through with this plan, so links from any app will still open in your default browser. 

While you're here, check out more of our Windows How-Tos