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Change Default Browser

Change Default Browser

Ever wondered how to change the default browser (the browser that opens when you click a link in an email or try to open an HTML file stored on your computer)?

It’s quite easy actually.

Most Windows based computer systems come with Internet Explorer set as the default browser.

As you surf the internet and become a more experienced computer user you may find another web browser that you would like to try out. You may have downloaded and install it to try out first. When the new browser was being installed it might have asked if you wished to make it the default browser. You answered no at the time because you wanted to try it out first. Each time you opened the new browser it might have asked you if you wanted to make it the default browser and if you answered no, and clicked the don’t ask me again the new browser will just open when activated. Now you have decided that yes, I want to use this browser as my default web browser. So what do you do?

Each browser will have a different way to set it as the default browser after installation. At the top of the browser window there is a menu with words (assuming you haven’t hidden it) like File, Edit, View, Favorites, Tools and Help. Click each and a menu will appear. Look for something that refers to Preferences, Settings or Options and click it. Under this section of the browser you have to look for where it lets you set the browser as the default browser. There might be an checkbox beside “… should check to see if it is the default browser.” or just a button or checkbox to make the change.

Here’s an example setting Firefox as the default web browser:

Change Default Browser to Firefox

  1. Open the Firefox web browser.
  2. From the top menu (toolbar) select Tools then Options.

    Options window appears.

  3. In the top left of the Options window is a catagory called Advanced, click it.

    The General tab should be selected.

  4. At the bottom of the General tab is a section called System Defaults. Within this section is a check box in front of Always check to see if Firefox is the default browser on startup. Click in that box to select.
  5. Click the Ok button at the bottom of the Options window.

    The Options window will close.

  6. Close the browser.
  7. Find an email with a link to a website or a web page on your computer to test with. When you click the link in the email the Firefox browser will open. Likewise if you open an HTML page that is stored on your computer the Firefox browser will open.

The procedure would be similar in any of the browsers. Find the Preferences or Options section of the browser and have the browser check that it is the default browser or there will be an option to set it as the default web browser.

Locating the Default Browser Setting

Above we showed how to set Firefox as the default browser on a computer. Here’s where the settings are located in some of the other major web browsers:

Internet Explorer

Tools, Internet Options, Programs, checkbox near the bottom to for Internet Explorer to check if it is the default browser.


Tools, Preferences, Advanced, Programs, Check if Opera is default browser on start up.

There are tons of web browsers available. We can’t cover them all here but hopefully you now have an idea on where to set the default browser for your computer.

Revised: January 31, 2012

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21 Responses to “ Change Default Browser ”

  1. Rick says:

    How do I change my default browser from Firefox back to IE?

  2. Rick,
    In the top of the Internet Explorer 7 window, in the same line as your tabs there is a Tools menu item, left click the little arrow pointing down then left click Internet Options.

    Left click the Programs tab in the window that appears.

    In the second section of that tab is Default browser.

    Left click the button to make Internet Explorer the default browser.

  3. Derek says:

    I have Windows XP and there is no “second section of that tab” where I can change the default browser. How would I go about changing from firefox to IE, because the way that you stated to Rick doesn’t seem to apply to me.


  4. Derek,

    It’s there in IE7. Maybe because you haven’t been using IE, you haven’t upgraded to IE7?

    If you are still using IE6 or prior, there’s a menu bar across the top of the browser. Left click the Tools menu item, then Internet Options. It should be on the Programs tab as I recall.

    NB: If you still have IE6 or prior on your machine, you need to upgrade to IE7. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/downloads/ie/getitnow.mspx

  5. ken says:

    There is no Internet Options from the drop down toolbar to change from Firefox back to IE

    And, how can we get into the IE toolbar if Firefox is the browser?

  6. Ken,

    Assuming you have IE7 installed:
    1. Open IE by clicking the desktop icon for Internet Explorer.
    2. On the right at the top there’s a toolbar, left click Tools.
    3. At the bottom of the list that appears, left click Internet Options.
    4. Left click the Programs tab.
    5. Left click the button that says Make Default.
    6. Left click Ok.

    Now, when you click a link in your email for example, it should be opened in IE.

  7. chi says:

    i changed my browser from att to firefox on accident. how to change it back?

  8. Chi,

    Look for the AT & T browser on your machine and see if you can find a setting to make it the default browser.

    You could try looking through AT & T’s support pages or calling them if you are still having problems.

  9. Jen says:

    Firefox is my default browser, but still when I click a link in an email, IE opens — and I want it to be Firefox. It used to open with Firefox, but Windows did some updates the other day. Any ideas?

  10. Jen,
    If Firefox is not opening when links in emails are clicked, try this:

    Setting Firefox as the default browser does not work

  11. Michelle says:

    whenever I try type in a website in the address bar in IE and hit enter or GO,opera opens as if I typed it in on Opera…..what is up with that and how do I fix it? I’ve tried the default web browser thing and IE is set as the default but it still happens anyway. If I delete opera,then Firefox opens. I’ve tried all I know to try. Hope you can help.

  12. Michelle,
    Did you double check if the other browsers have “Set as default browser” checked?

    Maybe when you changed the default browser to IE, your change didn’t over ride the settings in the other browsers for some reason?

  13. Panic says:

    iwant to change my browser to aol but everytime i click on aol it does not open. help me please

  14. Have you looked at this page at AOL help?
    AOL® Desktop Browser General Settings http://tinyurl.com/58l57d

  15. L.K.Rangan says:

    When I installed Firefox it took command as default Browser, thereby changing many of my file icons and downloads (HTML). When I try to set the default to IE, using the steps above [check the default box in IE/tools/prog], it soon disappears-and I think FF is the villain…Help

  16. amanda says:

    ok so we have IE but we want to change it to firefox but when you said to check the box wt does that do?I mean it just says it will tell you when it is not the default web browser but how can you change the defalt web browser?

  17. If done correctly, a web page you open from your computer or email link going to somewhere on the web should open in the default browser you selected.

  18. Starshines says:


    Firefox is set as my default, I verified and even unchecked saved and went back in to set as default again, but every time I click a link in Outlook IE opens. This used to work just fine but I had to recently open IE and as always new problems arise. IE is the villain in this case which happens a lot and I avoid opening it like the plague. Any advice would be much appreciated.

  19. Veronica says:

    How can you change your default browser so that when you open up internet explorer or mozilla firefox it automatically displays the google search page?

    • In either of them, go to the page you want to be your home page when you open the browser.

      In Internet Explorer:

      1. Click the Tools menu item at the top.
      2. Click Internet Options. You should be on the General tab.
      3. Top section is called Home Page. Click Use current.
      4. Click ok at the bottom. You are done!

      In Firefox:

      1. Click the Tools menu item at the top.
      2. Click Options. You should be on the General tab.
      3. Top section is called Startup. Click Use current page.
      4. Click ok at the bottom. You are done!

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