Technology

Microsoft blocks tool that redirects Edge links in Windows 11, but there are alternative solutions

We all know that Microsoft isn’t afraid to use aggressive tactics when it comes to pushing people onto its products. Redmond’s stance was clearly illustrated when it recently started blocking a tool called EdgeDeflector in Windows 11 that redirects links away from the company’s browser and to the user’s preferred option.

As most Windows users know, links in Microsoft apps such as Cortana and Windows Search are redirected to Edge, even after setting an alternative web browser as the system default. In Windows 11, this extends to the Widgets pane, and Microsoft makes switching browsers more difficult in its latest OS.

To circumvent this annoyance, Daniel Aleksandersen created EdgeDeflector, a free tool that intercepts microsoft-edge:// links and changes them back to regular https:// that open in your default browser.

But it appears that Microsoft didn’t appreciate Aleksandersen’s efforts. The creator explains that Windows 11 build 22494, released on November 3, makes it impossible to set anything other than Edge as the protocol handler for the microsoft-edge:// protocol.

Aleksandersen said that working around the new limitation would introduce destructive changes to Windows, but a different developer, Robert Maehl, has stepped into the void with MSEdgeRedirect. He explains that the tool “filters and passes the command line arguments of Microsoft Edge processes into your default browser” instead of hijacking the microsoft-edge:// handler, which should stop future Windows updates from borking it.

You can grab the MSEdgeRedirect app from GitHub. It just needs to be running (in the system tray) to work as intended. Maehl also plans to replace Bing links with a user’s preferred search engine in a future version of the tool.