How to set or change default browser or programs in Windows 10

You may need to change the default programs associated with certain protocols and file extensions. Most of end changing the default browser or image viewer to another program of our choice. If you are one of those, then this post will show you how to change default programs in Windows 10.

Change default program in Windows 10

There are two methods in Windows 10 to set or change default programs. One is the classic Control Panel method and the other is easier – via the new Settings app. We will talk of the Settings app first and then about the Control Panel method.

The Settings app offers only a few default apps that can be changed. The list includes Video Player, Mail, Music Player, Calendar, and Browser. The programs or protocols not visible in In short, Settings app offers just a few options whereas the list in Control Panel is bigger. Using the latter, you can change default programs for a wider range of protocols or services.

As an example, let us see how to change the default web browser.

Change default browser via Windows 10 Settings app

Windows 10 sets Microsoft Edge as the default browser for opening web links. The example tells you how to change it to Firefox. You can change it to anything you want, provided the related application is installed on the device. For example, if you wish to change it to Opera, you must have Opera installed on the device so that you can select it in the list of default programs – both in PC Settings and Control Panel method.

To change the default browser:

Press Win+I to open the Settings app and select System. Next scroll down to Default Apps in the left pane and click on it.

Fig 1 - Change Default Apps - Step 1

When you click on Default Apps in the left pane, the contents of right pane will change to list popular protocols and will look like the image below:

Change default programs in Windows 10

Scroll down in the right pane to Web Browser and click on it

You will see the list of installed browsers.

Fig 3 - Changing default browser

Click on the browser you want to set as the default browser and exit.

That is all you need to do. The next time the system needs to fire up a browser, it will open the default browser you set.

Change default programs via Windows 10 Control Panel

If the default protocol that you wish to change is not available in the Settings app, you can use Control Panel to change the default programs in Windows 10.

The method remains the same it was in earlier versions. Via Win+X menu,  open the Control Panel and click on Default Programs.

Fig 4 - Changing default programs using Control Panel - Step 1

Click on the first option saying Set Your Default Programs.

Control Panel will find the installed apps and programs and display the list. You will see the list of installed program in the left pane and the right pane will contain a description of program, along with options that let you set the program as default for files/protocols it can handle

Select the program that you wish to set as default, and then click on Set this Program as Default. This will set the program as default for files and protocols it can handle.

Fig 5 - Change default browser in Windows 10

To make further changes to files and protocols it can handle, click on Choose Defaults for this Program.

You will get a window that displays the list of file extensions and protocols registered by the program. Check the boxes against the files and protocols that you want the program to handle by default. Click Save to return to previous screen and close the Control Panel

This explains how to change default programs in Windows 10 – and you can follow the same procedure to change the default media player too.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, an end-user Windows enthusiast, & a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows for the period 2006-16. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.