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Ars Technica 19 August, 2021 - 09:44am 30 views

Switching from Microsoft Edge gets more annoying in Windows 11

Ars Technica 19 August, 2021 - 04:10pm

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A report from The Verge today has drawn attention to the way current Windows 11 betas are handling third-party Web browsers like Chrome and Firefox. These tweaks continue a trend that has intensified over Windows 10's lifecycle—you can use any browser you want on Windows! But are you sure you wouldn't like to try Microsoft Edge instead? Are you sure? Are you really, really sure?

There are two functional changes in the current beta of Windows 11 that make switching browsers more annoying. The first is that the OS no longer pops up a window asking you if you'd like to switch browsers the first time you click a link after installing a new browser. The second is that the "default apps" screen has removed the broad app categories currently available in Windows 10. Windows 10 allows you to set the default email app, map app, music player, photo viewer, video player, and web browser from the default apps screen, while Windows 11 makes you choose an app first and assign defaults one file extension at a time.

When you do attempt to change the default app that handles .htm or .html files from Edge to something else, Windows 11 takes it as yet another opportunity to make sure that you're absolutely, positively sure that you actually want to switch away from Edge.

Collectively, these changes represent another escalation in Windows' never-ending quest to remind you that it comes with its own browser, and Microsoft deserves to be criticized for it. I don't need to be told the Good News about Edge every time I install a major update, use Edge to download Chrome, or visit any of Microsoft's websites with a non-Edge browser. But browser-makers can make this process a bit less annoying in practice—for example, when I install Chrome on Windows 11 and click Chrome's "set as default" button, it kicks me to the Windows 11 default apps screen. But when I click Firefox's "set as default" button, it just works, no extra clicking needed.

The way Windows 11 handles lesser-used (or merely browser-adjacent) file extensions is actually a bit less confusing than the way Windows 10 handles them. Changing the default browser setting in Windows 10 and Windows 11 leaves Microsoft Edge in charge of opening a bunch of other file extensions, including .pdf, .svg, and .shtml—you might think that this is new behavior in Windows 11, but Windows 11 just makes it easier to see. Being able to see every file extension that every app on your computer can open and which apps are in charge of opening them is handy, and Windows 11's presentation is a big improvement over Windows 10's semi-buried version of the same view.

Reverting the two biggest changes to Windows 11's browser behavior—the missing pop-up and the absent high-level version of the "Default Apps" screen—would be relatively trivial and would mostly solve the practical issues here. In the meantime, some browser-makers do seem to have figured out how to make the default-browser-switching process less painful.

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Microsoft releases Windows 11 Build 22000.160 with new Clock app and more - MSPoweruser

MSPoweruser 19 August, 2021 - 12:17pm

Microsoft today announced the release of Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 22000.160 to Insiders in the Dev and Beta Channels. This build brings new Clock app for Dev Channel Insiders, you can read about the new Clock app in detail here.

Source: Microsoft

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Windows 11 Is Making It Absurdly Difficult to Change Browsers

Gizmodo 18 August, 2021 - 01:10pm

The Verge reports on how convoluted the new process is to change the default browser in Windows 11. Like in Windows 10, you’ll get a prompt when you click on a web link asking you to choose an app. But unless you specifically tell the system that you’d like to switch browsers, it will assume you’re okay with Microsoft Edge as the default. And if you’re used to Windows 10, you might not even think to select the “always use this app” toggle, which is an essential step for telling the system that what you’d like to use is Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox instead.

It gets worse: if you don’t remember on the initial pop-up, you’ll have to dig into the settings to change the default app for every specific file type. This can get tedious! It means you’ll have to tell Windows which app should open an HTM, HTML, PDF, SVG, and XHTML file—and that’s only a sampling of the file types that a browser can open. Additional screenshots show Windows 11 still nags the user to try Microsoft Edge when switching browsers. Even Windows 11's default taskbar widget point the user directly to Edge, despite the default setting.

The Verge reached out to several other browsers for their reaction to the changes in Windows 11. Most of them are not happy with the practice. “Microsoft has a history of doing this, and it seems they are getting progressively worse,” said a Vivaldi spokesperson in a statement. “With every new version of Windows, it is getting harder [to change defaults]. They understand that the only way they can get people to use their browsers is to lock them in.”

Microsoft Edge is a solid browser. The company has made great strides in recent years to bring Edge up to speed with the latest offerings. It’s even compatible with Chrome’s variety of extensions, making it easy to switch if you prefer to multitask between different browsers at a time.

Microsoft told The Verge that it is “constantly listening and learning” and that as Windows 11 evolves, it welcomes additional feedback to help shape the operating system. We still have a bit of time before the final version of Windows goes out to everyone else. From what we’ve gleaned so far, despite all the visual changes coming to Windows 11, the desktop operating system remains weighed down by antiquated, anti-competitive dogma.

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