The big picture: Microsoft recently released Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 23531 to the Dev Channel, bringing with it some notable changes and a whole host of bug fixes. Not all changes apply to all users worldwide, however, as the most notable new feature is only available to individuals in the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes the European Union alongside Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
As part of the change, Windows 11 PCs in the region will soon open all links in the default web browser instead of Microsoft Edge. It will be a welcome update as people have often expressed frustration with Microsoft’s decision to override the default browser settings in newer versions of Windows and open some help articles, settings window links and widget stories in Edge.
Earlier this year, the company also irked users by confirming that all Outlook and Teams browser links on Windows 10 and 11 devices will now open in Edge, regardless of the default browser setting. In Outlook on Windows, the email with the link now opens in the Edge sidebar alongside the linked content. In addition, embedded links in Teams messages will open in Microsoft Edge going forward, the company said.
Meanwhile, it’s not immediately clear why only people in the EEA will benefit from the recent change, as the issue affects all Windows 10 and 11 users, regardless of their location. As might be expected, the news that the vast majority of Windows users will continue to be forced to use Edge against their will didn’t go down well.
As pointed out From Bleeping Computer, people are searching internet forums for ways to trick their PCs into believing they are in the EU just for Windows to stick with the default browser selection. For now, at least, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious way for people outside the EEA to prevent Edge from opening links on their PC, but it will be interesting to see if Microsoft eventually rolls out the change to all users worldwide.
Windows 11 includes a number of upgrades over previous Windows versions and most of the changes have been positively received by users and media alike. However, minor glitches continue to hamper the experience for power users. One can only hope that Microsoft irons out most of these issues by the time Windows 12 is released, possibly sometime next year.