Windows 10 S will lock you into the Edge browser and Bing

You can install third-party browsers but not change the default browser

Windows 10 S will lock you into the Edge browser and Bing
Melissa Riofrio/PCWorld

Now that the rumored cloud version of Windows 10 has been revealed, the facts are starting to come out, one of which may not sit very well with some users. Microsoft is all but locking users of Windows 10 S into its Edge browser. 

Windows 10 S is a locked-down version of the operating system that will only run apps from the Windows Store. When Microsoft tried this a few years back with Windows RT on the Surface tablet, it failed miserably due to a lack of apps.

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However, with time and the switch from ARM to x86, there is a much larger app library from which to choose, and that includes third-party browsers. But while you can install Chrome from the Windows Store, there is a big catch—you cannot change the default browser. 

When you open an HTML page, the default browser is loaded, and that is something you can control from your PC. Of course, all three major browsers—Edge/IE, Firefox and Chrome—do a check on startup to see if they are the default browser and ask you to switch if not. But with Windows 10 S, you won’t be able to. 

You also will be prohibited from changing the default search engine from Bing. Alternatives such as Google or Yahoo (don’t laugh) will be blocked. You can always visit the respective websites, you just can’t set it as the default search engine in the web browser search box.

The info is buried in the Windows 10 S FAQ: "Are there any defaults that I cannot change on my Windows 10 S PC?" Microsoft’s answer:

Yes, Microsoft Edge is the default web browser on Microsoft 10 S. You are able to download another browser that might be available from the Windows Store, but Microsoft Edge will remain the default if, for example, you open an .htm file. Additionally, the default search provider in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer cannot be changed. 

I wonder how long before the European Commission slaps them with another billion-dollar fine over this one. Of course, Microsoft could simply not release Windows 10 S in Europe and avoid that whole headache. 

The good news is if you buy the $999 version of the Surface book with Windows 10 S, you can upgrade to full Windows 10 for just $49—if you are not in education. If you are a student or teacher, the upgrade is free, but the offer is good only until the end of this year.

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