Last month, Microsoft released a regular Windows 11 preview build with all sorts of changes and fixes. Microsoft usually provides extensive changelog detailing all improvements and new capabilities in preview builds, but at that time, the company did not mention that an API change breaks a popular third-party tool for bypassing Edge-enforcing policies.
The API change was “exclusive” to Windows 11 preview builds, allowing users with stable versions of Windows 10 and 11 to use EdgeDeflector to prevent Microsoft from imposing Edge. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case as the latest cumulative updates for Windows 10 and 11 completely break EdgeDeflector.
This story should not surprise anybody, considering how Microsoft explicitly told users that it plans to proactively combat hacks that redirect specific links from Edge to other browsers (Windows Widgets, for example). The software giant claims Microsoft Edge, Windows Search, Widgets, and other features are made to work together, and users should not split them. Of course, users and developers are not happy.
Although EdgeDeflector no longer works, there is already a new open-source tool to help everyone deal with Microsoft’s shenanigans. MSEdgeRedirect is available for free, and it uses a different method to prevent Windows from shoving Edge down the users’ throats. Here is a description from the developer:
“A Tool to Redirect News, Search, Widgets, Weather and More to Your Default Browser
This tool filters and passes the command line arguments of Microsoft Edge processes into your default browser instead of hooking into the microsoft-edge: handler, this should provide resiliency against future changes. Additionally, an Image File Execution Options mode is available to operate similarly to the Old EdgeDeflector
No Default App walkthrough or other steps, just set and forget.”
Note that MSEdgeRedirect does not intercept links from other applications. It only handles Edge-specific links that Microsoft does not allow opening in your default browser. The developer also says future updates will bring a new feature for redirecting Bing search results to Google or other preferred search engines.
It is also worth mentioning that MSEdgeRedirect is currently in beta, which means bugs and changes are something to expect. You can download the app from its repository on GitHub. Alternatively, you can use a simple script called ChrEdgeFkOff to avoid installing third-party apps.
Keep in mind that Microsoft might introduce more changes under the hood of Windows 11 and 10 to throw a wrench into the MSEdgeRedirect tool. What we have here is a classic cat-and-mouse game that brings no benefits and only annoys everyone but Microsoft.
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