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set the default browser
25 Aug

How to Set the Default Browser to Chrome, Firefox, or IE

Categories: TCI Tips, IT support

Whether you’ve set it or not, your computer has a default browser, which is the program that will open anytime you click on something linked to the Internet, such as a link in an email or a desktop shortcut to a website. If you open a new browser, it will often ask if you would like to make that your default browser, and if you click “accept” or “ok,” some users have a difficult time resetting their browser to the one they prefer. Although this can be extremely frustrating for users who appear to be stuck using a browser they don’t like, don’t worry! We have the answers to help you set the default browser to whichever one you like best.

Your Options for Web Browsers

Before we talk about how to set the default browser on your computer, maybe we need a brief introduction on the options you have. There are three main web browsers that most PC users use: Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox.

Internet Explorer is the browser that all PC users are familiar with, because it’s the one that comes pre-installed on your computer. This is the first default browser that your computer will ever know, because it’s the only one you have to start!

Mozilla Firefox, commonly known simply as Firefox, was released by Mozilla in 2002. It came from the same company that created Netscape, the world’s most popular browser in 1994 (pre-dating Microsoft’s Internet Explorer!). It is now the world’s third most popular browser.

Google Chrome is a browser created by, you guessed it, Google! It was released in 2008, and became the most widely used web browser in 2012.

How to Set the Default Browser

Let’s get started! So you’re sitting at your desk, and you open up an email from a colleague with a link in it. When you click that link, whatever web browser you have set as your default option will be launched. I’ll demonstrate how to set the default browser:

Set the Default Browser

I receive this email. I move my mouse to the link, and a pop-up says “Click to follow link,” and so I do.

Set the Default Browser

This causes Google Chrome to launch, and a browser window appears, displaying the website that was linked in the email I received. That means Google Chrome is currently my default browser.

How to Set the Default Browser to IE

Set the Default Browser

Start by opening Internet Explorer. Click on the gear icon, located on the far right of the upper right hand corner of the browser window. When you click the icon, a drop-down menu will appear. Click “Internet options.”

Set the Default Browser

The Internet Options panel will open over your browser window. Click on the tab that says “Programs,” second from the right.

Set the Default Browser

In the Programs tab, you’ll see a button in the top right corner that says “Make default.” Click on that.

Set the Default Browser

After you click “Make default,” you may notice that where it used to say “Internet Explorer is not currently the default web browser,” it now says, “Internet Explorer is the default web browser.”

You’ll notice that there’s a check box below the button that says, “Tell me if Internet Explorer is not the default web browser.” That means that whenever you open IE, it will check to see if it is set as your default browser, and if it’s not, it will prompt you to change your settings in one click. If you prefer to use IE, it’s not a bad idea to turn that setting on, that way if your settings ever get changed accidentally in the future, it’ll be easy to fix.

Click “OK,” and the Internet Options panel will close. You successfully set the default browser!

How to Set the Default Browser to Firefox

Set the Default Browser

Let’s start by opening Firefox. On the far right side on the upper right corner, you’ll see three horizontal lines stacked on one another. Click that button, and a drop-down will appear, just like when we went into the IE options. Click “Options.”

Set the Default Browser

When the Internet Options window appears, click on the “Advanced” tab, which is the farthest tab on the right.

Set the Default Browser

In the Advanced tab, you’ll see a button at the bottom that says, “Make Firefox the default browser.” Click that.

Set the Default Browser

In Firefox, once the browser is set to default, the ‘make default’ button disappears entirely, and is replaced with a note that says “Firefox is currently your default browser.” Just like the check box in IE, Firefox has one above the ‘make default’ button, which says, “Always check to see if Firefox is the default browser on startup.” If Firefox is your browser of choice, check that box to make things easier later on if you ever accidentally change your settings. Click “OK” and you’re all set!

Now let’s just say I wanted to come back around full circle and set the default browser to Chrome. Then what?

How to Set the Default Browser to Chrome

Set the Default Browser

Start by opening Chrome (is this starting to feel familiar?). In the top right corner, you’ll find three stacked, horizontal lines, just like you saw in Firefox. Click them to bring down a drop-down menu just like you did in the last two browsers, and click “Settings.”

Set the Default Browser

Unlike the last two browsers, Chrome’s settings will open right in your browser, as if you’re visiting a website. You may need to scroll down to find the section titled “Default browser.” Click the button that says, “Make Google Chrome the default browser.”

Set the Default Browser

Just as you saw in Firefox, once you click the button, it will disappear and you’ll be left with a note that says, “The default browser is currently Google Chrome.”

And there you have it! That's how to set the default browser to all three of the most popular web browsers for PCs! If you have any further questions about setting your default web browser, give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter. For the best IT support, all day, every day, call TCI Technologies at (516) 484-5151!

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Author: Tom Jacoberger