In case you’ve taken benefit of Google Chrome’s nifty software that makes it the default browser for Home windows — with out even needing to open your PCs app settings! — we remorse to tell you that Microsoft’s most up-to-date replace introduces an annoying bug that appears to solely go away in the event you change your default again to Microsoft Edge.
The April Home windows replace in query, KB5025221 (opens in new tab), has been inflicting no small quantity of bother for enterprise customers, in keeping with Gizmodo (opens in new tab).
Since July 2022, Google Chrome got here with a perform that may allow you to change your default browser with the clicking of a button, sometimes alongside the highest finish of the window, but additionally within the browser’s settings menu as nicely.
Because the April 2023 Home windows replace nonetheless, Home windows enterprise prospects have been having an particularly robust time of issues because the Home windows Default App settings web page reportedly opens up each time Chrome is opened, forcing the consumer to shut the settings web page.
“After at this time’s cumulative replace for Home windows 10 and 11, 2023-04, each time I open Chrome the default app settings of home windows will open,” one frustrated user on the Microsoft support forums wrote (opens in new tab). “I’ve tried some ways to resolve this with out luck. That is taking place to all 600 programs with the replace.”
One other consumer of the r/sysadmin subreddit discovered that simply clicking on a hyperlink shortcut was sufficient to set off the difficulty.
“If Chrome is about because the default browser clicking on the hyperlink shortcut wil[l] open the hyperlink in chrome, but additionally open the home windows settings on the default apps,” the user, azaaza0909, writes (opens in new tab). Tellingly, additionally they notice: “It would not occur if we modify the default browser to edge.”
The Home windows replace would not give a lot in the way in which of concrete particulars as to what it’s fixing past saying up high that “This replace addresses safety points to your Home windows working system.”
It isn’t simply enterprise customers
Whereas enterprise customers appear to be probably the most severely impacted by this bug, they don’t seem to be the one ones. Shopper variations of Home windows 10 and Home windows 11 additionally appear to have been impacted by the April replace, although its impression is extra annoying than actively irritating.
For normal prospects, the replace appears to have disabled Google Chrome’s capacity to set the default browser by way of the browser itself. I can verify that going into Chrome’s settings and making an attempt to set the default browser will pressure the Default App settings to open, however not truly change something. You’d should navigate down the app checklist, choose Chrome, and on the high click on the button that claims Set Default.
After setting Google Chrome because the default browser, I attempted to do the identical factor by way of the Settings menu on Microsoft Edge. With Microsoft Edge although, clicking the Set Default button within the Default Browser menu did the truth is reset the default browser to Edge.
So, is that this a matter of Microsoft dinging its net browser rival? There is not any strategy to assign that form of motivation to an organization of many 1000’s of individuals, however I am inclined to consider that the difficulty with Default Browser-Gate is not purely malice on Microsoft’s half.
What’s behind the bug?
So as to set the default app on Home windows the consumer simply toggles a few switches and goes about their searching journey, however behind the scenes, the report of which app is the default app (opens in new tab) for opening recordsdata with particular extensions (like .html) is recorded within the OS’s registry file system.
This isn’t the form of factor you fiddle with willy-nilly, since screwing up your registry settings may cause all types of havoc and even brick your Home windows set up. Google, in the meantime, must make edits to your OS registry recordsdata to be able to set Chrome because the default net searching app, and though applications do that on a regular basis when putting in or uninstalling parts, it is normally not as simple as a single button click on exterior of a Home windows settings menu.
And whereas Google might need gotten away with its software for a number of months, this is the form of vector for safety threats that may be a focus for software program safety professionals.
Altering your default net browser from contained in the browser itself is not more likely to pose any form of menace, however good info and software program safety is preventative somewhat than reactive. So, Microsoft probably simply decided that it wanted to maintain these sorts of registry changeable actions contained inside Microsoft’s personal settings system, which is way extra more likely to be safe than some future model of Google Chrome.
That is most likely what Microsoft is referring to when it writes in one of many few notes on the replace that “This replace addresses a compatibility concern. The difficulty happens due to unsupported use of the registry.”
As for why Edge could make the registry modifications denied to Google? Effectively, Edge is Microsoft’s product, so it’s clearly going to be much more appropriate and understood by the Home windows OS builders themselves who can work collectively internally to create a secure means for its browser to do issues usually requiring increased degree privileges when tried by a third-party app. This positively makes it simpler to make sure safety is being maintained since Microsoft is accountable for each of the actors within the trade.
May Microsoft even be appearing petty and making it only a teensy bit more durable to make use of its competitor’s product whereas making its personal a lot simpler as a substitute? Who’s to say; it isn’t like Microsoft acquired into a really well-known anti-trust battle with the US authorities (and misplaced!) over this actual concern of the corporate giving system-level choice to its personal net browser over a competitor’s, proper?
Given the rising depth of Microsoft’s push to extend Edge adoption (together with its more and more grating makes an attempt to get you to modify to its browser (opens in new tab)), at a minimal, one of the best you’ll be able to say is that Microsoft would not exit of its strategy to essentially make it simpler for Google to win the newest browser conflict. In the long run, it is probably a bit of column A, a bit of column B, however this one is no less than extra defensible from a safety perspective.