Windows 10 S forces users onto Microsoft Edge as default browser

Yesterday saw the revelation of Windows 10 S, Microsoft’s lightweight version of its desktop operating system to rival Chrome OS, but it seems this new product has a couple of caveats that weren’t immediately clear – namely that the default browser and search experience are locked down to Microsoft’s ecosystem.

As you’re probably aware, the whole idea with Windows 10 S is that it’s restricted to Windows Store apps which are vetted by Microsoft (for better security all-round), but there’s nothing stopping you from installing a third-party browser – provided it’s present as a download in the store (Google’s Chrome browser isn’t yet, but could be in the future).

However, as The Verge spotted, Microsoft has a FAQ for Windows 10 S which makes it clear that what you can’t do is change the default web browser.

That means if you click a link, for example in a Word document or email, it will open in Edge by default, and there’s nothing you can ever do about that – it’s set in stone as the go-to browser.

Sole searching

And it’s the same story for your search experience, as the FAQ notes: “Additionally, the default search provider in Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer cannot be changed.”

So the default search engine on Microsoft’s browsers will be Bing, and you won’t be able to switch that to Google search.

This is a move which will doubtless cause some displeasure, as a lack of choice is never a good thing. Although as Microsoft prides itself on listening to user feedback these days, if they catch enough flak, perhaps things could change…

All that said, it’s also worth noting that Google’s Chrome OS is, of course, built around its Chrome browser (although it is possible to use third-party browsers if you have a Chromebook that supports Android apps, and you download them from the Play store – but there’s no guarantee they’ll function nearly as smoothly as Chrome).

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).