Windows 10 S is easy to dismiss as a stripped-down version of Windows 10 since it can only run apps downloaded from the Windows Store. But it actually has a bunch of enterprise-friendly features that Windows 10 Home lacks, including Bitlocker encryption, Azure AD domain join, and Windows Update for Business support. Previously you would have needed Windows 10 Pro to get those features.

But it turns out that the inability to install apps from third-party sources isn’t the only feature Windows 10 S lacks: you also can’t change the default browser or search engine.

Microsoft says you will be able to download third-party web browsers from the Windows Store. But you won’t be able to set them as the default.

That means clicking a link, html file, or other item that would normally open a web browser will always launch the Microsoft Edge web browser. And when you perform a web search using the Edge location bar or Cortana assistant, Bing will always be the default search engine.

Sure, you can always set Google, DuckDuckGo, or another search engine as your home page, but it will take a few more clicks to get to them than it will to just use Bing.

The good news is that while you can’t easily switch your default browser or search engine in Windows 10 S you can relatively easily change the operating system. If you decide Windows 10 S is too restrictive for your needs, you can always open the Windows settings menu and choose to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for $49.

Microsoft notes that the upgrade is “one-way.” There’s no option to go back to Windows 10 S once you’ve upgraded.

That means you’ll lose out on any security or performance benefits that come with a more locked-down operating system. But you also get the ability to run any Windows app you want… and to set any browse or search engine as your default.

via The Verge


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13 replies on “You can’t change default browser, search engine on Windows 10 S”

  1. Ach Microsoft, you still don’t get that the EU will give you a serious, nonconsensual court encounter for stuff like this.

  2. if you can get admin rights and if you would be allowed to change the registry (through either regedit or similar)… then a simple registry hack could probably do it.
    Lot’s of ifs….

    1. I wonder if an inability to install rival browsers will lead to antitrust lawsuits. It didn’t go so well for Microsoft the last time they had antitrust lawsuits over browser choices.

      1. They will not doubt argue that they are doing nothing different to what Google and Apple do on their own OS platforms, and that Windows S (specifically) does not have the dominant market share that Windows (as a whole) did when they were last in trouble for this.

        In any case, the Trump administration won’t care, though the EU regulators may still take a look.

        1. If I recall the first time Microsoft got in trouble for antitrust issues like this it (involving IE as the default browser and Windows Media Player) was the EU that gave them a jumbo-size dope slap to the face via a fine and a requirement to create a new version of Windows without IE or WMP installed for the EU market. The US did investigate them but I don’t recall any major penalties from this country.

          I agree that the Trump administration and its DOJ won’t likely give this one much thought. Windows S doesn’t have enough market share to bother with considering Windows Home and Windows Professional have the lion’s share of the computer OS market and offer the ability to install at least six different browsers and a couple of different media players from outside of Microsoft. I also don’t expect Windows S to gain any appreciable market share outside of the K-12 education market, almost anyone accidentally purchasing a computer with this OS version for home or work use will immediately pay the $49 and install Windows Pro when they figure out how gimped the former is.

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