Why can’t I make Firefox the default browser in Windows 10?

Firefox the default browser in Windows 10
Outfoxed: Windows may refuse to make Firefox the default

If you read my piece on Firefox getting its mojo back last week, you may well have attempted to make Firefox the default browser in Windows 10.  Alas, that may not be as easy as it seems.

My dad rang me yesterday, complaining that he couldn’t get Windows 10 to set Firefox as his default. Now, it should be noted that my dad has his own technology force field, some mystical ability to plug a USB drive into his laptop and have completely reformatted the servers at Google about ten minutes later. On this one, however, it seems the old man wasn’t alone. There are lots of people wailing that when you choose to make Firefox your default by clicking on the prompt in the browser, Windows fails to list Firefox among the installed browsers on the next screen.

How to make Firefox the default browser in Windows 10

The solution in this case is fairly simple.

Uninstall Firefox, download the browser again and reinstall. Hit the option to make it the default browser when Firefox first opens, and this time – according to Collins Snr – Firefox is on the list.

There is another way to skin the cat if this still doesn’t work for you. Type ‘default’ into the Windows 10 search box, open the Default App Settings option that should appear in the search results, scroll down to web browsers and choose Firefox from that list.

Ignore the fact that Microsoft ‘recommends’ Edge for Windows 10. That’s akin to the big bad wolf recommending houses that are made out of sticks.

Talking of the big bad wolf, is it possible that Microsoft is playing silly buggers and doing something to block Firefox setting itself as the default browser? I think that’s highly unlikely, but stranger things have happened…

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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