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Windows 10.v.1709 (10.0.16299.248) x64 - can't make Firefox my default browser as it's not listed in "Choose an app" [workaround]

Posted

Some variant of this question gets asked a lot - here and in other forums. (Actually, the problem is more with Windows 10 than with Firefox.) The behavior goes like this: User installs Firefox, ticks "Always check if Firefox is your default browser" and in general does everything to try to make it default web browser (Settings > Apps > Default apps > Web browser) - except that Firefox is not presented as a browser option.

In this situation, the "standard" solution < https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-change-your-default-browser-windows-10 > fails on step 5, for the reason just given: the "Choose an app" box does not list Firefox as an option. From that point, most of the threads look for a workaround, but diverge based on different versions of Windows 10. Unfortunately, the next two paragraphs are needed to explain why that is the case.


Windows 10 is a bit of a mess [it's still Windows, after all], and an ongoing aspect of its development is replacement of the Control Panel with the Settings app (via the Win-X menu, which also points to the Settings tree Home page, as well as other Settings pages and other management apps currently outside the Settings app). So there's a mix: sometimes a function can be done in either place, sometimes Settings are executed via legacy CPL applets, and sometimes CPL elements point to the corresponding (hopefully equivalent) Settings element. As development continues on the Settings app, and CPL applets are removed, sometimes aspects of a CPL applet's functionality are simply not replaced, or not replaced in equivalent ways.

IOW, as this process continues, releases will differ in how things can be done. Unfortunately people are not generally aware of this, particularly as 4-digit version numbers and 5.3-digit build numbers (= 7-digit KB numbers) have replaced older and simpler version numbering schemes. This problem is compounded by automatic updates and, in the update history listings, the build number is replaced by the KB number describing (often inadequately) the changes in that build. It's a terrible mess for support of 3rd-party applications like Firefox -- and unfortunately this information is not even collected by Mozilla's troubleshooting data collection. (That is why the title is so specific about version info.)


For example, question #1167367 (2017-0711) ( https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1167367 ) found that he could get around the lack of Firefox option in the "Settings > Apps > Default apps" by going to the corresponding "Set Default Programs" CPL applet, which allowed any program (now "app") to be set as the default for all file types and protocols it can handle. But that is no longer possible with the current version, for which that CPL applet is removed.

Meanwhile, in the current W10 version, "Settings > Apps > Default apps" currently handles that CPL applet's functions via three sub-heads at the bottom of the page:

[1] "Choose default apps by file type"
[2] "Choose default apps by protocol"
[3] "Set defaults [both file type and protocol] by app"

Now, even though Firefox is NOT listed as a choice in the "Web browser" "Choose an app" box, it IS listed as a choice on those subhead pages. Specifically, for:

[1] Firefox is listed for most of the desired file types. (Where relevant file types do not offer Fx as an option, that probably reflects a fault in the installation script.)

[2] Firefox is listed for the desired protocols -- and when you select Fx for "HTTP", it is then listed as the default "Web browser". So this solves the problem -- even though Fx still is not listed as an option in Web browser's "Choose an app" box!

[3] Firefox is listed here - in fact, it might be listed multiple times! In my case, it is listed 4 times - no doubt reflecting the times I uninstalled and reinstalled as I tried to get it to show up in the Web browser "Choose an app" box (which never happened).

So this is a workaround, not a proper fix. It reflects an obviously buggy registry and system, but does invoke Firefox when needed.


Similarly, in #1172782 (2017-0824) ( https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1172782 ), the "chosen" workaround was "Start > Control Panel > Programs > Default Programs > Set your default programs", but in my version that just takes you back to the same point (Settings > Apps > Default apps) and so is of no help. (Arriving by a more circuitous route does no magic: Firefox is of course still not an option.) User "Donaldas" made that point, but was advised to start a new thread (which unfortunately did not happen). So that remained unsolved in that thread -- but the solution (at least for the current version) is described above.


More recently, in #1186804 (2017-1117) ( https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1186804 ), Catherine Barber posted the problem and at least recognized the need to identify her W10 version (Home v:1703). As with the other questions, people who were trying to help ignored her basic point: that Firefox was NOT listed as an option for Web browser "Choose an app", and so her final comment (Feb.28) was "If Firefox isn't listed, how can I set it to be my default browser - or, isn't this 'allowed' in Windows 10 ?"

Again, though, a solution for W10/Pro.v.1709 (10.0.16299.248) x64 is above. Unfortunately, with the bugs in W10 (illustrated by failures to register on install or de-register on uninstall), combined with the constant churn in the Control Panel to Settings migration (without first fixing the bugs), it's impossible to guarantee that solution will be OK for any other version. As I said, Windows 10 is a nightmare for 3rd-party software support. To minimize that nightmare, we at least need to be aware of, and sensitive to, the complications. That's why I wrote this detailed (TL:DR) explanation.


fixed the hyperlink in the 2nd paragraph and another added in the 5th paragraph - fixed by a moderator

Some variant of this question gets asked a lot - here and in other forums. (Actually, the problem is more with Windows 10 than with Firefox.) The behavior goes like this: User installs Firefox, ticks "Always check if Firefox is your default browser" and in general does everything to try to make it default web browser (Settings > Apps > Default apps > Web browser) - except that <i><b>Firefox is not presented as a browser option</b></i>. In this situation, the "standard" solution < https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-change-your-default-browser-windows-10 > fails on step 5, for the reason just given: the "Choose an app" box does not list Firefox as an option. From that point, most of the threads look for a workaround, but diverge based on <i>different versions of Windows 10</i>. Unfortunately, the next two paragraphs are needed to explain why that is the case. Windows 10 is a bit of a mess [it's still Windows, after all], and an ongoing aspect of its development is replacement of the Control Panel with the Settings app (via the Win-X menu, which also points to the Settings tree Home page, as well as other Settings pages and other management apps currently outside the Settings app). So there's a mix: sometimes a function can be done in either place, sometimes Settings are executed via legacy CPL applets, and sometimes CPL elements point to the corresponding (hopefully equivalent) Settings element. As development continues on the Settings app, and CPL applets are removed, sometimes aspects of a CPL applet's functionality are simply not replaced, or not replaced in equivalent ways. IOW, as this process continues, releases will differ in how things can be done. Unfortunately people are not generally aware of this, particularly as 4-digit version numbers and 5.3-digit build numbers (= 7-digit KB numbers) have replaced older and simpler version numbering schemes. This problem is compounded by automatic updates and, in the update history listings, the build number is replaced by the KB number describing (often inadequately) the changes in that build. It's a terrible mess for support of 3rd-party applications like Firefox -- and unfortunately this information is not even collected by Mozilla's troubleshooting data collection. (That is why the title is so specific about version info.) For example, question #1167367 (2017-0711) ( https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1167367 ) found that he could get around the lack of Firefox option in the "Settings > Apps > Default apps" by going to the corresponding "Set Default Programs" CPL applet, which allowed any program (now "app") to be set as the default for all file types <i>and</i> protocols it can handle. But that is no longer possible with the current version, for which that CPL applet is removed. Meanwhile, in the current W10 version, "Settings > Apps > Default apps" currently handles that CPL applet's functions via three sub-heads at the bottom of the page: [1] "Choose default apps by file type" [2] "Choose default apps by protocol" [3] "Set defaults [both file type and protocol] by app" Now, even though Firefox is NOT listed as a choice in the "Web browser" "Choose an app" box, it IS listed as a choice on those subhead pages. Specifically, for: [1] Firefox is listed for most of the desired file types. (Where relevant file types do not offer Fx as an option, that probably reflects a fault in the installation script.) [2] Firefox is listed for the desired protocols -- and when you select Fx for "HTTP", it is then listed as the default "Web browser". So <b>this solves the problem</b> -- even though <i>Fx <b>still</b> is not listed as an option in Web browser's "Choose an app" box!</i> [3] Firefox is listed here - in fact, it might be listed multiple times! In my case, it is listed 4 times - no doubt reflecting the times I uninstalled and reinstalled as I tried to get it to show up in the Web browser "Choose an app" box (which never happened). <b>So this is a workaround, not a proper fix. It reflects an obviously buggy registry and system, but does invoke Firefox when needed.</b> Similarly, in #1172782 (2017-0824) ( https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1172782 ), the "chosen" workaround was "Start > Control Panel > Programs > Default Programs > Set your default programs", but in my version that just takes you back to the same point (Settings > Apps > Default apps) and so is of no help. (Arriving by a more circuitous route does no magic: Firefox is of course still not an option.) User "Donaldas" made that point, but was advised to start a new thread (which unfortunately did not happen). So that remained unsolved in that thread -- but the solution (at least for the current version) is described above. More recently, in #1186804 (2017-1117) ( https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/1186804 ), Catherine Barber posted the problem and at least recognized the need to identify her W10 version (Home v:1703). As with the other questions, people who were trying to help ignored her basic point: that Firefox was NOT listed as an option for Web browser "Choose an app", and so her final comment (Feb.28) was "If Firefox isn't listed, how can I set it to be my default browser - or, isn't this 'allowed' in Windows 10 ?" Again, though, a solution for W10/Pro.v.1709 (10.0.16299.248) x64 is above. Unfortunately, with the bugs in W10 (illustrated by failures to register on install or de-register on uninstall), combined with the constant churn in the Control Panel to Settings migration (without first fixing the bugs), it's impossible to guarantee that solution will be OK for any other version. As I said, Windows 10 is a nightmare for 3rd-party software support. To minimize that nightmare, we at least need to be aware of, and sensitive to, the complications. That's why I wrote this detailed (<b>TL:DR</b>) explanation. ''fixed the hyperlink in the 2nd paragraph and another added in the 5th paragraph - fixed by a moderator''

Modified by John Kaufmann

Chosen solution

You had a > included in the hyperlink, the page "couldn't be found".

The software used here is "garbage" - and was replaced a year ago. The "new" software was worse in many respects. No beta testing by those of us who have lived here for 9 years (at that time) was done before it "went live". Multiple problems were found and SUMO reverted to the "lesser known evil" when the people who created that "new" software couldn't fix the "faults". Lasted like 5 or 6 weeks before it SUMO reverted to what were now using.

I lost my reference links to a few pages that explained the "uniqueness" of the formatting for the "Post a Reply" text area, sorry.

Best I can suggest is to Preview a potential posting before posting it, and then check the hyperlinks to see if they load properly. "Standard" BBCode or HTML type code usually doesn't work as with "real" forum software packages out there. SUMO uses "home grown" software that originally went live in July 2010 iirc; so as to combine the KnowledgeBase with the forum software. Last year Mozilla paid an outside concern for that software which came close to what Mozilla wanted; but in the end there was "no cigar" for what we got. Not sure what the future will bring, but with the lead up to releasing Quantum this past November there was no movement towards trying again for SUMO.

Sorry that I can't help you with Win10 - don't use it. I think part of that problem is the "game" that Microsoft plays with "approved applications", which IMO is a "game" that Mozilla won't play.

I am "still" on Win7 which was new for me 2 years ago after Win10 came out. Used WinXP before that, and Win2000 before starting to use WinXP in 2008. I really lag behind the "curve" and use what still works for as long a possible. I build my own PC's and I am not dependent upon what comes pre-loaded on a new computer. I usually just "assume" a Windows license from a PC that I am "scrapping" for a friend or relative when I help them transfer their data to a new PC (by law the "license" stays with the PC). I let them scrap or keep their old hard drive (usually too worn out for me to take a chance on re-using, plus I am too lazy to "wipe" the HDD) and I either "upgrade" their hardware for my own use, or just pull a few select pieces and discard the rest. Or as with "this PC", I just "assume" the Windows license for one Operating System, and dual boot with a Linux OS; with all new pieces inside a case that I have had for 17 years - 3rd "new PC" in this case.

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Question owner

. . . fixed the hyperlink in the 2nd paragraph and another added in the 5th paragraph - fixed by a moderator

Thanks, moderator. Can you say what needed to be fixed about the hyperlink in the 2nd paragraph?

Also, thanks for adding the hyperlink reference in 5th paragraph. I just used it (copy/paste/edit) to add corresponding links in the 13th and 14th paragraphs -- but that brings up a housekeeping question: I had wanted to add those links originally, as I do in comments. However, while for posting comments there is a primitive HTML editor (bold, italic, link, ol, ul), that editor does not exist for posting the original question -- or have I just missed it?

If I have missed it, how is it invoked? If I have not missed it -- that is, the HTML editor is only available for comments -- can any HTML tags be used in posting the original question? For example, could I set up a link with <a href= ... > tag?

[I know that is not strictly needed for the specific problem of posting a link: I learned from your example that I can just insert a link as text, and the protocol will be identified to turn it into a URL. But to make things easier to read, I prefer to hide the URL behind a link identification -- for example, just expose the question number, and use that as the identifying text token, as in <a href=URL>question_number</a>.]

Conversely, if I can use regular HTML tags when posting, then: (1) What HTML version is supported? (2) Can I also use those tags in comments to expand the primitive HTML capabilities of the comment editor?

<blockquote> . . . ''fixed the hyperlink in the 2nd paragraph and another added in the 5th paragraph - fixed by a moderator'' </blockquote> Thanks, moderator. Can you say what needed to be fixed about the hyperlink in the 2nd paragraph? Also, thanks for adding the hyperlink reference in 5th paragraph. I just used it (copy/paste/edit) to add corresponding links in the 13th and 14th paragraphs -- but that brings up a housekeeping question: I had wanted to add those links originally, as I do in comments. However, while for posting comments there is a primitive HTML editor (bold, italic, link, ol, ul), that editor does '''''not''''' exist for posting the original question -- or have I just missed it? If I have missed it, how is it invoked? If I have not missed it -- that is, the HTML editor is only available for comments -- can any HTML tags be used in posting the original question? For example, could I set up a link with <a href= ... > tag? [I know that is not strictly needed for the specific problem of posting a link: I learned from your example that I can just insert a link as text, and the protocol will be identified to turn it into a URL. But to make things easier to read, I prefer to hide the URL behind a link identification -- for example, just expose the question number, and use that as the identifying text token, as in <a href=URL>question_number</a>.] Conversely, if I can use regular HTML tags when posting, then: (1) What HTML version is supported? (2) Can I also use those tags in comments to expand the primitive HTML capabilities of the comment editor?

Modified by John Kaufmann

the-edmeister
  • Top 25 Contributor
  • Moderator
5411 solutions 40287 answers

Chosen Solution

You had a > included in the hyperlink, the page "couldn't be found".

The software used here is "garbage" - and was replaced a year ago. The "new" software was worse in many respects. No beta testing by those of us who have lived here for 9 years (at that time) was done before it "went live". Multiple problems were found and SUMO reverted to the "lesser known evil" when the people who created that "new" software couldn't fix the "faults". Lasted like 5 or 6 weeks before it SUMO reverted to what were now using.

I lost my reference links to a few pages that explained the "uniqueness" of the formatting for the "Post a Reply" text area, sorry.

Best I can suggest is to Preview a potential posting before posting it, and then check the hyperlinks to see if they load properly. "Standard" BBCode or HTML type code usually doesn't work as with "real" forum software packages out there. SUMO uses "home grown" software that originally went live in July 2010 iirc; so as to combine the KnowledgeBase with the forum software. Last year Mozilla paid an outside concern for that software which came close to what Mozilla wanted; but in the end there was "no cigar" for what we got. Not sure what the future will bring, but with the lead up to releasing Quantum this past November there was no movement towards trying again for SUMO.

Sorry that I can't help you with Win10 - don't use it. I think part of that problem is the "game" that Microsoft plays with "approved applications", which IMO is a "game" that Mozilla won't play.

I am "still" on Win7 which was new for me 2 years ago after Win10 came out. Used WinXP before that, and Win2000 before starting to use WinXP in 2008. I really lag behind the "curve" and use what still works for as long a possible. I build my own PC's and I am not dependent upon what comes pre-loaded on a new computer. I usually just "assume" a Windows license from a PC that I am "scrapping" for a friend or relative when I help them transfer their data to a new PC (by law the "license" stays with the PC). I let them scrap or keep their old hard drive (usually too worn out for me to take a chance on re-using, plus I am too lazy to "wipe" the HDD) and I either "upgrade" their hardware for my own use, or just pull a few select pieces and discard the rest. Or as with "this PC", I just "assume" the Windows license for one Operating System, and dual boot with a Linux OS; with all new pieces inside a case that I have had for 17 years - 3rd "new PC" in this case.

You had a > included in the hyperlink, the page "couldn't be found". The software used here is "garbage" - and was replaced a year ago. The "new" software was worse in many respects. No beta testing by those of us who have lived here for 9 years ''(at that time)'' was done before it "went live". Multiple problems were found and SUMO reverted to the "lesser known evil" when the people who created that "new" software couldn't fix the "faults". Lasted like 5 or 6 weeks before it SUMO reverted to what were now using. I lost my reference links to a few pages that explained the "uniqueness" of the formatting for the "Post a Reply" text area, sorry. Best I can suggest is to Preview a potential posting before posting it, and then check the hyperlinks to see if they load properly. "Standard" BBCode or HTML type code usually doesn't work as with "real" forum software packages out there. SUMO uses "home grown" software that originally went live in July 2010 ''iirc''; so as to combine the KnowledgeBase with the forum software. Last year Mozilla paid an outside concern for that software which came close to what Mozilla wanted; but in the end there was "no cigar" for what we got. Not sure what the future will bring, but with the lead up to releasing Quantum this past November there was no movement towards trying again for SUMO. Sorry that I can't help you with Win10 - don't use it. I think part of that problem is the "game" that Microsoft plays with "approved applications", which IMO is a "game" that Mozilla won't play. I am "still" on Win7 which was new for me 2 years ago after Win10 came out. Used WinXP before that, and Win2000 before starting to use WinXP in 2008. ''I really lag behind the "curve" and use what still works for as long a possible. I build my own PC's and I am not dependent upon what comes pre-loaded on a new computer. I usually just "assume" a Windows license from a PC that I am "scrapping" for a friend or relative when I help them transfer their data to a new PC (by law the "license" stays with the PC). I let them scrap or keep their old hard drive (usually too worn out for me to take a chance on re-using, plus I am too lazy to "wipe" the HDD) and I either "upgrade" their hardware for my own use, or just pull a few select pieces and discard the rest. Or as with "this PC", I just "assume" the Windows license for one Operating System, and dual boot with a Linux OS; with all new pieces inside a case that I have had for 17 years - 3rd "new PC" in this case.
UnderPL 0 solutions 2 answers

Hello, I've had the same problem and fixed it with http://kolbi.cz/blog/?p=396

SetDefaultBrowser.exe ff

Hello, I've had the same problem and fixed it with http://kolbi.cz/blog/?p=396 '''SetDefaultBrowser.exe ff'''
dddiam 0 solutions 1 answers

John Kaufmann said

Meanwhile, in the current W10 version, "Settings > Apps > Default apps" currently handles that CPL applet's functions via three sub-heads at the bottom of the page: [1] "Choose default apps by file type" [2] "Choose default apps by protocol" [3] "Set defaults [both file type and protocol] by app" Now, even though Firefox is NOT listed as a choice in the "Web browser" "Choose an app" box, it IS listed as a choice on those subhead pages.

The "Choose default app by file type", and "...by protocol" solved the problem for me. It was an easy solution, but I never would have found it without this post. Thank you!

''John Kaufmann [[#question-1207775|said]]'' <blockquote> Meanwhile, in the current W10 version, "Settings > Apps > Default apps" currently handles that CPL applet's functions via three sub-heads at the bottom of the page: [1] "Choose default apps by file type" [2] "Choose default apps by protocol" [3] "Set defaults [both file type and protocol] by app" Now, even though Firefox is NOT listed as a choice in the "Web browser" "Choose an app" box, it IS listed as a choice on those subhead pages. </blockquote> The "Choose default app by file type", and "...by protocol" solved the problem for me. It was an easy solution, but I never would have found it without this post. Thank you!