Can’t set the default browser in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Last Updated on October 13, 2016

Contrary to what I said before, I have finally managed Windows 10 to bug me. Though this is not the most annoying thing, it does get on my nerves sometimes. What I am talking about is the bug which won’t let me select the default browser after the anniversary update. What’s happening is that in the Settings app, whenever I select the browser of my choice, it doesn’t honor my selection. So, I am stuck with using the dreaded IE or the Edge browser for opening links by default on my PC. Quite honestly, it’s not something that occurs often, so it’s not a big deal, but nevertheless, it is not what I want on my PC so I’ll fix it.

Windows 10

So, I am stuck with using the dreaded IE or the Edge browser for opening links by default on my PC. Quite honestly, it’s not something that occurs often, so it’s not a big deal, but nevertheless, it is not what I want on my PC so I’ll fix it.

can't set browser win 10 au

As you can see in the above gif, the Web browser field isn’t saving our setting for any browser which in turn makes IE as the default choice for Windows.

Set the default browser in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

After tinkering a bit, there are two fixes that I have found for this. The first one is to switch my MS account to someone else’s, and the second one is by using the classic Control Panel to set the Default programs.

Set Default Programs in Control Panel

Since the new Settings app isn’t saving your default browser, you will need to use the Control Panel to set the default apps.

  • Press Windows key and type “control panel” and open the control panel.
  • Here click on the “View by” field on the top right and select Large icons.
  • Go to Default Programs > Set your default programs.

set default browser windows 10 au

  • In the Left window, select the browser of your choice (Google Chrome) and click on Set this program as default.

chrome default browser windows 10 au

If for some reason, this doesn’t work for you, though it should, you can try changing your MS account associated with your PC.

Switch MS account to set the default browser (not recommended)

It might be the case, that the MS account associated with your PC doesn’t have the permissions to set up the default apps for the OS. In this case, you will have to switch accounts with someone else’s or even an offline one will do.

Note: performing the above step will result in the removal of your settings and personalization from your PC. Proceed with caution.

  • Press the Win key to open the Start menu and type “Settings” (without quotes). Open the settings app from there.
  • Head over to Accounts > Email & app accounts and click on the email address of your account.

email settings windows 10 au

  • Click on the Manage button to open the Account settings.

email account settings windows 10 au

  • On this screen, click on Delete Account.
  • After your account is deleted, restart your PC and then again head over to the Settings > Accounts > Email & app accounts.  Click on Add an account.
  • In the “Add an account” window, click on the account type you want to enter and proceed with the steps shown.
  •  Once the account has been changed, you can head over to the Settings > System > Default apps. In the Web browser field, select the Google Chrome (or any browser of your choice).

That’s it. Now you can change the default browser in Windows 10 anniversary update. This method is also useful for setting up defaults for all other apps in Windows too.

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Written by Utkarsh

Utkarsh Bhatt is a certified tech expert and software engineer for a Fortune 500 Company. He was born in 1995, making him one of the oldest members of the team at EFX. Utkarsh loves solving technical issues and is always the first to jump on any problem that needs solving. When he’s not coding or debugging, he enjoys playing video games (especially Super Smash Bros.) and watching cartoons.

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63 thoughts on “Can’t set the default browser in Windows 10 Anniversary Update”

  1. There is a “set default by app” link at the bottom of the default menu that will take you to the control panel defaults page.

  2. hi, i tried both methods and i did method 2 repeatedly with different accounts but it still doesnt work 🙁 i cant set by protocol or any of the options in control panel or settings

          • i go to set your default programs > google chrome > set this program as default but it remains at having 16 out of 19 defaults ☹️️

            • Well, this looks like just another bug, if this is happening to your PC. If you have more than one web browsers installed, try removing them. For example, remove Firefox, or Opera if you have them. After that, try setting Chrome as the default from Control Panel.

              One more thing that you can try is using the Run box to set Chrome as the default on your PC. Press Windows key + r button to open the Run box. In the Run box, type and press enter. Now, Windows will ask you which browser you want to open this link in. Select Chrome and also check the box saying Always use this app. This will surely fix your woes. I hope that helps.

              • i uninstalled internet explorer and tried again but with the same result. and the windows run tool gives me the pop up box which asks how i want to open this website but under both use and app and use the default browser theres no option to select anything. this is the box that pops up when i click on hyperlinks too ☹️️

                • How did you uninstall the Internet Explorer? I don’t think that you can do that without messing with the Windows features.

                  The solution for your problem is to reinstall Chrome or whatever browser that you want to use. Download Chrome or Firefox. On the first run, the browser will ask you to set it as the default. Select that option and that might work for you.

                  • changed the ownership settings! anyway i tried reinstalling chrome previously and it didnt work either. finally gave up and restored my laptop and redownloaded and now all the settings are back to normal 🙂 thank you so much for your help!!!

  3. I tried both methods but it doesn’t work. Every time I try to open something, it asks me to use an app or the default browser…

    • Right-click on your Desktop and go to New > Text file. This will create a blank text file on your Desktop. Now, rename this file to xyz.htm. After that, double-click on it. You will get a popup like this one. Click on Always use this app and select Chrome or whatever browser you fancy. Do the same for a xyz.html file too. Try this.

        • It didn’t convert to html or htm file because you didn’t remove .txt at the end of the name of the file. I’m sure that your file name looks like xyz.html.txt. It should be xyz.html. Try that.

            • Ah, I get it. Your PC is set to not show the file extensions from the Folder Options. Press the Windows key and search for Folder Options in the start menu search. Open it.

              Click on the View tab and in the Advanced settings, uncheck the Hide extensions for unknown file types. Like this. Click Apply. Now you will see the file on your Desktop as xyz.html.txt. Remove the .txt from the end and open it. You will get the option to set the Default browser.

          • I did both of them. Both .htm and .html, and I set both of them to always open with Chrome. But it didn’t set Chrome to the default program.

            • That’s disappointing. I guess that you should try setting the browser defaults from the Control Panel once again (as mentioned in the post). The Settings app from Windows 10 can be a little problematic sometimes, but the Control Panel works flawlessly. Restart your PC, perhaps before doing that, though.

            • Yeah, that should. You can also try clicking on Set this program as default for Chrome (or whatever browser you want) in the Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Default Programs > Set Default Programs.

          • I’ve done that. Still 16 out of 19. I can’t do 19 out of 19 because the HTTP file and others can’t be ticked. And that didn’t work. I tried to check if it set it as my default program but nope.

        • I’d rather not do that because I don’t want to lose all my data. But I tried doing xyz.http and etc and I ticked Always use this program with Chrome, but it still says 16 out of 19…

  4. Thank you for this. I spent about 2 hours undoing changes from the update. I swear, the only way Microsoft won’t suck is if they started making vacuum cleaners. Gerald

  5. Doesn’t work anymore. When you click manage default programs, it takes you to the new windows version, not the old one like I assume it did when this was written.

  6. Hey! didn’t work for me… Every time I click “Set your default programs”, Windows automatically opens Settings/Apps/Default_apps
    I just can’t get chrome as default browser. I get Edge, Firefox.


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