Tech

Mozilla silently bypassed Microsoft’s default apps protections in Windows

Why it matters: By now it’s no secret that Microsoft has been pushing users on Windows 10 to switch to Microsoft Edge through various prompts and tricks. Other browser makers have been vocal about the practice for years, but now Mozilla has taken the next step and bypassed the anti-hijacking features in Windows 10 to allow users who aren’t fond of Edge to easily make Firefox their default browser.

Last month, news broke that Microsoft was making a set of changes in Windows 11 that would make it harder for most users to switch from Microsoft Edge to an alternative browser.

The same problem has existed in Windows 10, but to a different extent — you could easily make Edge the default with a prompt from inside the browser, but for other browsers you still have to go to Settings where you’ll be nagged once again about Edge’s supposedly superior security and performance as you attempt to switch defaults.

That has made other browser makers understandably upset about the situation. In the case of Mozilla, the company silently developed a way for Firefox users to make it the default from within the browser. Starting with version 91, which was released last month, Mozilla has effectively reverse-engineered the functionality through which Edge is set as default in Windows 10.

Also read: 5 Google Chrome Alternatives That Do Things Better 

The new prompt you’ll get when opening Firefox while not being set as default will no longer send you to the Setting apps. Instead, it’s now a one-click affair that goes around the security protections set in place by Microsoft to prevent malware from hijacking default app settings.

It’s a bold move and one that may soon get replicated in Chrome, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, and other browsers. There are 1.3 billion Windows 10 users and many might not rush to upgrade to Windows 11 right away. Still, when they do decide to upgrade, Edge will almost always get set as the default and switching to an alternative browser will become cumbersome again.

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