Windows 8 ships with two flavors of Internet Explorer 10, one for the Metro UI and one for the desktop. If you don’t need any version, you can install another browser such as Google Chrome, Firefox or Safari.
However, choosing to set browser as the default browser on Windows 8 during installation doesn’t seem to work, at least not for Chrome.
It looks like Microsoft is just ignoring this option and keeping IE as the default browser. To change it, you need to manually set the default third party browser. In this article, I’ll show you how to do it.
Change the default web browser in Windows 8
First, install whatever browser you want to use instead of Internet Explorer. Then go to Control Panel in Windows 8.
You can read my post here on how to quickly access Control Panel in Windows 8. Then click on “Default Programs”.
Then click the Set Default Programs link.
Then find your browser in the left pane and click on the Set this program as default link.
This will install Chrome or any other default browser for any allowed file types and protocols. To see which files and protocols were transferred, you can click the “Select defaults for this program” link.
As you can see, any HTM or HTML file will now open in Chrome. However, there are some things that currently cannot be changed in IE by default. If you click Internet Explorer in the left pane, and then click “Choose defaults for this program”, you will see the following items:
Unfortunately, it does not allow you to uncheck these items, so MHTML, Pinned Site Shortcuts, and Internet Shortcuts will still open in Internet Explorer. Even though it is configured for IE, I created an Internet shortcut on my desktop and it opened in Chrome, not IE.
Also, I tried to click the link in the Word document and it also opened in Chrome. Finally, I tried to click the link in the Metro app and it also opened in Chrome, although it looked like the Metro version of Chrome, not the PC version.
So, at least for Google Chrome, you can set it as default via Control Panel and Windows 8 will pretty much open all links and URLs in Chrome, not IE. If you’ve tested other browsers, feel free to post your comments and results here. Thanks. Enjoy!