Starting in Windows 10, Microsoft has been replacing links to Web resources which previously specified the
https: protocols with their proprietary
microsoft-edge: protocol, which the system is configured to open in the Microsoft Edge browser, even if the user has installed another browser and designated it as the primary browser for opening Web resources.
Despite this trickery, as of October 2021, Microsoft Edge had a desktop/laptop browser market share of just 9.33%, with Google Chrome retaining its dominant lead at 67.17%. On Windows 10 and builds of Windows 11 prior to preview build 22494, users could install a free, tiny helper application called EdgeDeflector to redirect these links to the user’s preferred browser, and other browsers, including Edge and Firefox, were including the same functionality. Mote than half a million users have installed EdgeDeflector since its release in 2017.
Starting with WIndows 11 build 22494, it is no longer possible for the user to change the protocol handler for
microsoft-edge:// to a third-party browser, which forces these links to open in Microsoft’s browser.
It is just this kind of anti-competitive torpedo-ware trying to prevent users from migrating from Microsoft’s laughable “Internet Explorer” to competently-implemented and standards-compliant browsers that brought the antitrust hammer down on Microsoft by the U.S. in 2001 and the European Union in 2009. They’re up to their old tricks again, and we’ll see whether regulators have it in them to take on Microsoft’s customer-hostile behaviour this time.