Microsoft promises sweeping changes to how Windows manages which apps open certain files by default and how users can select programs to pin to their Start menu on the Windows desktop or taskbar.
A new settings deep link URI scheme allows developers to direct users directly to the right place in Settings to change which program is the default for certain file or link types.
Separately, Microsoft will begin testing a new API to allow apps to pin a primary or secondary tile to the taskbar.
When Windows 11 launched, it had a messy and cumbersome process for setting default programs, which was a step backwards from Windows 10 and required users to go through each individual file type instead of just choosing a favorite web browser or image editor. Bad enough that Tom Warren commented in his review that he was “surprised that Microsoft is releasing such a new version of Windows,” which raised concerns among rival browser makers such as Mozilla, Opera, and Vivaldi.
A Windows 11 update to make switching your default browser back to a simple one-click process arrived last year for everyone, but by allowing deep links that take users of an app to the right part of the menu Bringing settings should make it even easier to customize no matter what they set up. Similarly, a standardized menu for adding app tiles to the taskbar could encourage new widgets or other interfaces that keep information from the programs you use most available for easy access.
Of course, it’s always difficult to get developers to actually use new Windows features, but Microsoft says it’s ready to lead the way by building support for the new menus into the Edge browser as they become available.