Managing default applications for web browsing and other tasks can be confusing on Windows, with applications sometimes setting themselves as the default without user knowledge or consent, and Windows resetting defaults after updates. However, Microsoft has recently announced plans to improve default app management in Windows 11, with the aim of giving users greater control over their desktop, start menu, and taskbar.
One of the key changes will be a new deep link URI for applications that takes users directly to the default apps settings page in Windows 11. For example, if Firefox asks to be the default web browser and the user accepts, they will be taken directly to the settings page where the default browser can be changed. Windows 11 will also allow apps to pin primary or secondary tiles to the taskbar using a new API, which will show a warning with accept or decline buttons.
Microsoft has also promised to take steps to prevent unrequested modifications to user choices, though this will only happen later in the year after application developers have had time to adopt the new best practices. Once the new APIs are available and apps have adopted them, it is possible that Windows 11 will block applications from changing the default settings through existing methods.
The new default app management functionality will be tested in the Windows Insider Dev Channel in the coming months, and Microsoft has promised to switch Edge to the new pinning and default features once they are available. Overall, these changes should make default apps and taskbar pins more like their equivalents on Android and iPhone devices, where apps cannot silently change settings without asking.
In conclusion, Microsoft’s new approach to default app management in Windows 11 is a welcome change that should give users greater control over their desktop, start menu, and taskbar. With new APIs, deep link URIs, and warnings for pinned tiles, it will be easier for users to manage their default applications and prevent unwanted changes.
The upcoming changes should make Windows 11 more user-friendly and trustworthy, and help users avoid confusion and frustration when managing default apps.