If you're not careful when installing new applications on Windows, they can be sneaky and make themselves the default for opening various files or links. On the flip side, you may actually want one of the apps you've installed to be the default. For example, many people prefer Google Chrome over Internet Explorer or Microsoft Edge in Windows 10.

Here we explain how to change your default browser so that links always open in the right one.

Microsoft is trialling a beta version of Windows 10 which ignores your preferences and opens all links from the Windows Mail app in Edge. It's doing this to find out whether users (those on the Windows Insider program) like this behaviour or not. We're sure that negative feedback will make Microsoft think twice about rolling this out to all users. 

How to change your default browser

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.

Firefox

If you want Firefox as your default web browser, open it and click on the icon comprised of three horizontal lines over in the top-right corner of the window. This will bring up a menu from which you can select 'Options'.

In the Options menu you'll automatically be in the 'General' section. Click the 'Make Default' button and this will open the settings in Windows 10.

Click the button under 'Web browser' which shows the current default and select the one you want from the list, in this case Firefox.

How to set default web browser in Windows

Chrome

Should you want to use Chrome or any other web browser, either go to Control Panel if you're running Windows 7 or earlier, or open the Settings app in Windows 10 (shown above). 

In Windows 10 in the Settings app, simply click on Apps and then Default apps. Scroll down and change the default browser using the drop-down menu.

In earlier versions of Windows, in Control Panel go to Programs > Default Programs and then Set Default Programs. Scroll down the list to find Chrome (or the browser you want) and click on it. Now 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