back to article FYI: If the latest Windows 11 really wants to use Edge, it will use Edge no matter what

Microsoft Windows 11 build 22494 prevents links associated with the Microsoft Edge browser from being handled by third-party applications, a change one developer argues is anticompetitive. Back in 2017, Daniel Aleksandersen created a free helper application called EdgeDeflector to counter behavioral changes Microsoft made in …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    Oh Well, I keep threatening to go Minty, so I guess it's definite if my Win10 falls over for any reason. I have dismantled/deleted edge on this PC as far as I know how, although windows still tries to open stuff in a browser that isn't there.

    So far 11 sounds as though it is going to make Vista look good so I will be in the market for a Chilly Willy hat in the near future.

    1. Michael

      Great plan

      I can highly recommend the switch. My now 9 year old daughter has only every used Linux for home schooling over the last year. She has never been forced to use a Microsoft application yet and will remain happily ignorant of their software for as long as possible.

      I unfortunately still need to use it in occasion for PCB design as altium still doesn't run on Linux. However, it is only on a work machine with windows 10 and as much as possible the tracking turned off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great plan

        Brilliant. Teach how computers & SW work not it has to be...H/w X Y Z and S/w A B C

        Avoids I can use V1 but now there is V1.1....Aghhhhhh

        I am sure you have future proofed your daughter by showing what/how 'doze is/works - so as not to disadvantage her in the workplace. ...and can spread the word from knowing both as opposed to "the only true world is..."

        1. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: Great plan

          <rant>

          Have I ever used a Microsoft Office product before my new job? Yeah. Word for Windows 2.0. That was in the mid (maybe late) 90s, so about 20 years before I started my current job.

          I leave the handling of stupid Word idiocies to others in my team (who hate it just as much as I do), like disappearing chapter numbers, the stupid treatment of captions (why are they not tied to the object, if you move the object the caption stays behind unless you group them), the weird way references work, the supid way standard formats are inherited, etc. I wish I could use another program, but there are some that insist on exactly that - even when documents are text only. A bit like the very widespread idiotic use of html in emails, just to display the company's logo in the signature and change the font to monarco retardo.

          And don't get me started on the auto formating of data read from csv-files by Excel. That is complete madness. Or the insistence that ";" should be used as the one and only field separator (without making you jump through hoops).

          I have no clue why computer use should be tied that strongly to "Microsoft Office" - it is but a subset of (more or less) useful (at least wide spread) programs. Unless you are too thick to adapt to small changes it matters sweet FA which programs you grow up with - see the discussions on MS moving menue entries around between versions, which I hate but one can deal with that. Or should be able to. I admit I'm stilled ticked off that keyboard shortcuts have changed and are no longer that well communicated in the menues.

          "disadvantage in the workplace", my ass. It does not help that in schools the "computer" classes seem to deal with (mostly) MS Office and thus perpetuate your view. In my actual computer science class at school we at least did some programming (Turbo Pascal, PROLOG - very old school teacher -, and I forget what else, I also used some inline assembler in TP). We focused more on algorithms than on using the programs (because most things you can figure out yourself, Word for Windows and Libreoffice and others are not that bad and have come a long way since the 90s).

          And no, I do not think I am of more than average intelligence. But I can adapt to different environments and computer programs, because I was exposed to a variety of different things.

          What I do (fully) agree with is exposing the kid to a wide range of OS and software, and having an informed opinion.

          </rant>

          Ok, sorry, I jumped on the first half of the last paragraph, which is not fair at all, because the rest of the post actually makes sense: 1st paragraph: yes. 2nd: yeah, can adapt to changes, see my rant. 3rd: 1st half makes me explode. 2nd half is just right.

          Have an actual upvote...

          1. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Devil

            Microsoft Office

            Have you noticed how they have *removed* the AutoSave feature from Office? Now, you *have* to be connected to 365, it doesn't do local AutoSave anymore. And if you are connected to 365, your every keystroke and mouse twitch are sent to Microsoft, who may or may not use them to train a GPT AI model of you.

            And even if you "opt out" of "connected experiences", sometimes it is forced upon you by Group Policy, so you still get the data-slurping features like "Microsoft Editor" which analyses your text as you type and creepily tries to suggest things for you, like Clippy on steroids. Or the layout in PowerPoint that uploads everything to Microsoft and "helpfully" suggests ways to make your presentation look shit.

            Windows and Office are nothing more than a data-slurping GDPR violation. Microsoft want more data than Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon. Data is the new Oil, etc.

            1. Rob Daglish Bronze badge

              Re: Microsoft Office

              So this GPT AI model... can I hire it to do my work for me? Asking for a lazy oaf who can see a way of getting paid to do nothing ;)

              1. cyberdemon Silver badge
                Windows

                Re: Microsoft Office

                no. Obviously it only works for Microsoft (i suppose you could rent yourself back from them). You are a slave by proxy.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Microsoft Office

              As much as it pains me to say a good word about MS, but auto-save still works for me in Word. I know this because it means Word freezes every few minutes as it saves everything and heaven help you if you are typing when it tries. As someone else here pointed out, at least when it gets confused it goes into "Save As" so is making some sort of vague effort to make sure things get saved.

              I just make sure that the folder where things are being saved is NOT! on OneDrive. In my case it's straight onto a Samba share. I loath the way the OneDrive based auto-save works. Me I regularly save docs I'm developing into new files and have all the old versions online as separate files. The files are then rsynced onto backup machines regularly.

        2. trindflo
          Flame

          Re: Great plan

          Microsoft seems to be actively alienating the businesses that have kept them in business. It seems to me they've decided their most avid customers are gamers and have adjusted their strategies to that market.

          Microsoft has a lot of momentum in their favor, but if they intend to continue down the path of pretending they own every PC and are merely leasing them to the public they will find increasing friction being applied to their joy-riding of our machines.

          Candy Crush on a business machine? But surely you can block that nonsense if you've purchased a pro license! Nope. You need an enterprise license for several times the cost if you want that privilege.

          So no, it isn't obvious at all to me that neglecting to inculcate the young to swear allegiance to a gaming and advertising kiosk is doing them a disservice.

          1. chasil

            Poison Pill

            Microsoft ought to be careful.

            In outsourcing their browser engine to Google, they have now placed significant power over their OS in the hands of people who are now growing upset with them.

            Google could, for example, inject a Go runtime into Chrome, get it endorsed as a web standard over Microsoft's objections, and force Go into Windows with the public intention of killing the .NET environment.

            Should these two companies engage in serious disagreements, Windows will suffer badly.

      2. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Go

        Altium

        Works happily in VirtualBox and other VMs apparently. Even the 3D stuff.

        And then you can use Linux iptables to block access to all internet hosts (except the Altium license manager) for the VirtualBoxVM process, ensuring that while technically you are running a Windows instance, at least you are not letting the Microsoft spyware through.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Great plan

        KiCAD

      4. binary
        Linux

        Re: Great plan

        I, too, use Linux over Windows. "Linux," as we know it, means three things if I remember correctly: deb, rpm, and Arch packages and - they are not compatible with each other.

        If I was a developer, I wouldn't waste precious time developing for all three packages. As I finally found a Linux distro that I feel comfortable to work with, essential programs lacking support because the package I need is not available - because I am using the 'wrong' Linux distro.

        To solve this annoying problem, Linux developers should pick and work on the best of the three existing Linux distributions otherwise, methinks that Linux will never grow to be anything worthwhile other that a meaningless number on Distrowatch.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Great plan

          ""Linux," as we know it, means three things if I remember correctly: deb, rpm, and Arch packages"

          You forgot the format they are all built on ... the tarball.

          1. Dazed and Confused

            Re: Great plan

            RPMs are CPIO balls despite RHEL's man page for cpio(1) saying it is obsolete and other archiving tools should be used.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Great plan

              I was thinking source RPMs ... Can't have a binary before you've got source.

              Yes, I've hand assembled machine code, too. You know what I mean.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Great plan

          "Linux developers should pick and work on the best of the three existing Linux distributions"

          The "best of the three" according to whom?

          And who proclaimed your three "the best"?

    2. Kev99 Silver badge

      I feel your pain. I keeping finding apps that insist on opening explorer.

    3. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      I'm quite fuming with their sh#t now. They've gone back to being the bunch of twunts they were in the early 2000s. I've got Edge thoroughly killed on 10 at the moment (which is hard enough as it is), but this is the last straw that will prevent me from going to 11 for as long as possible. Hopefully, someone will have figured out a hack round this (probably unlawful) cuntishness by the time I have to switch.

      1. WhereAmI?

        > I've got Edge thoroughly killed on 10 at the moment (which is hard enough as it is)

        Have you tried running a Windows Update? If it doesn't find Edge in the Registry, it halts at 99% and rolls back. It took me almost a month to figure that - my IT department never did until I told them.

        Way to go.

        1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

          Did a cumulative update yesterday (KB5007186), no issues. It seems to have stopped trying to reinstall it for the moment, too. This was my removal method.

          1. Peter2 Silver badge

            Your trying too hard.

            Let it install/update and set a software restriction policy/applocker policy that forbids it from running.

            1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

              Thank you for providing the belt to my braces. Hoist with their own petard!*

              (*Don't start, pedants: we've been there already.)

              1. jake Silver badge

                No hoisting required, much less petards. It's more of a matter of doing an end-around on the powers that wannabe .... I believe the classical phrase Redmond is demonstrating would be "Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi".

                Some say "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others".

        2. Someone Else Silver badge

          Have you tried running a Windows Update?

          Now why would I want to go and do that?

          1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

            Because security.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Oh, my.

              That word "security" ... I do not think it means what you think it means.

          2. BobChip
            Linux

            Updates

            I share your disdain (or something much stronger) for Windows updates: Linux updates, however... Sweet pleasure by comparison - very fast to download, very fast to install, no intervention needed, and very rarely a reboot afterwards (after kernel updates, usually) and continuing to work smoothly while all this goes on in the background. NO borking, NO BSD..

            Icon, because you already know what I use.....

  2. IGotOut Silver badge

    The problem is simple.

    Microsoft got slapped down.

    Since the Apple and Google have been allowed to pick off and go far further than MS did.

    The problem you now have is how are the competition regulators going to deal with MS when the other two are equally as bad, if not more so.

    They ALL need huge fines (think multi-billion) and default browsers removed. They should also be banned from shoving " This page would be better in...." on their own sites.

    1. sreynolds

      Re: The problem is simple.

      I don't think that MS got slapped hard enough. I am still appalled by the amount of "telemetry" being sent out to Redmond.

      1. LenG

        Microsoft telemetry

        You can block it all with pi-hole.

        1. NATTtrash
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Microsoft telemetry

          "You can block it all with pi-hole."

          Indeed you can. But...

          The main question is of course whether $USER should really have to jump through all those hoops. I mean, that is like buying a(n expensive!) car, and then having to push it around because the engine "is a bit funny, but it works like this". But hey, long live the ignorant $USER, who just about knows where ON/ OFF is, and buys a new box when the DOS battery is empty. Don't forget that we, the "grumpy" ones are just a very small subset, not denting, or even scratching MS' polish. As the film script goes: "Ignorance is bliss..."

    2. matjaggard

      Re: The problem is simple.

      Why shouldn't they be allowed to push their own browsers on their own websites? That's fairly basic freedom of speech surely?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The problem is simple.

        Or maybe to read this you need to use that.... freedom or censorship?

      2. Joe W Silver badge
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: The problem is simple.

        WHAT? Freedom of SPEECH?!

        did you forget the sarcasm tags?

      3. Snapper

        Re: The problem is simple.

        Bluddy Hell! What are you smoking?

      4. NATTtrash

        Re: The problem is simple.

        As is the freedom to own what you pay for. Use your property as you see it fit. Your right to privacy. Your right to free choice. Your right with regard to self determination.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The problem is simple.

          Thing is, the line blurs too easily. I mean, you pay rent, but you don't own what you rent, so there goes the money angle. You may own the hardware, but the firmware and software that's needed for the hardware to run can't necessarily be transferred to you due to copyright.

          Using your property as you see fit? So you dig a hole in your own yard...oops, you break an underground conduit or taint a communal supply. Free choice? What if you're the breadwinner and spouses and children depend on you? Self-determination? Welcome to the abortion debate where it's no longer just you in there. It's like the Schenck (Fire in a Crowded Theater) decision: there are always limits, some of which have no clear boundaries.

    3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The problem is simple.

      The existing judgements set precedent meaning that the next cases should proceed faster. All we need now are people to bring cases against what is clearly predatory and anti-competitive behaviour.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: The problem is simple.

        Paging Herr Schrems...Paging Herr Schrems...

        Call for you on the white courtesy phone in the lobby.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: The problem is simple.

          "the white courtesy phone"

          Careful, you'll have the hyper politically correct set up yer arse with a microscope for using phrases like that.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: The problem is simple.

            You are right. I should make a note in large text on my blackboard to remind me :-)

      2. idiot taxpayer here again

        Re: The problem is simple.

        @Charlie Clark.

        Well, go on then, you do it. Or is it a case of someone, anyone but me, do it? After all, if "it" (what ever that is) is so clearly predatory and anti competitive, it should be a piece of piss shouldn't it?

    4. thondwe

      Re: The problem is simple.

      Agreed IOS doesn't really allow other browsers (have to use Webkit/Safari engine) - and since Google launched Chrome book - I believe it's possible to add other browsers, but hard and messy?

      So why shouldn't MS be the same?

      Given you can choose the OS, you have go with it's limitations (Store, Browser, Built in Apps, Hardware Support etc), why should the browser any different?

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: The problem is simple.

        >So why shouldn't MS be the same?

        They are still the dominant player in the desktop/laptop/personal computer market and still have an effective OS monopoly.

        However, given the size of the market and that Apple's install base is probably significantly largely than MS's was when it was first subject to monopoly investigation, they too should be slapped down.

        >Given you can choose the OS, you have go with it's limitations

        Suggest revisiting the 1970's and understand why Open Systems became a thing.

    5. idiot taxpayer here again

      Re: The problem is simple.

      @IGotOut

      What are you talking about? I run Safari. My choice. I have 3 others on my system and they are all rubbish. I have never seen "this page would be better in" on any page I have visited. At least not since the Netscape vs Explorer years And, given that I only work 15 to maybe 20 hours a week, I visit a lot of pages

  3. msobkow Silver badge

    And my days on the Microsoft upgrade chain are over unless and until Steam abandons Windows 10.

    My next planned box is a pure Linux/VMWare stack for performance reasons; Windblows has too much disk IO overhead with its VMs.

    1. matjaggard

      Not just VMs. NTFS is awful for compiling code for example.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Holmes

        Why the downvotes on this?

        NTFS is horrendous at reading and writing large numbers of small files, compared to Btrfs say.

        But tmpfs (ramdisk) beats them all.

        mount -t tmpfs tmpfs ./build

    2. Wayland

      Linux Mint can play far more Steam games well than is indicated by the little Linux icon on games. I expect all games will play on Linux soon. VR seems to be a problem. MS Access is a problem. Nothing else causes me a problem. 10 years on Linux Mint I think now.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Linux

        VR is not a problem at all in my experience. It works brilliantly. Possibly better than on Windows.

        The Forest, Dead Effect 2, HL:Alyx, Thrill of the Fight, Serious Sam.. Loads more. Only two of those are officially supported, but everything so far seems to 'just work' with Proton, so long as you tick the box that says "Enable Steam Play for all other titles". Then you can play almost everything on Steam.

        > MS Access is a problem

        I hope you don't mean to say that you actually use that pile of dinosaur shit that was called Microsoft Access.

        Have you heard of SQL? Django?

        1. jake Silver badge

          To be fair, he did say that "MS Access is a problem" ...

      2. Dante Alighieri
        Paris Hilton

        VR disambiguation

        I read that as voice recognition rather than virtual reality.

        It would be a nice thing to have. I haven't found one yet to match Dragon.

        I run Ubuntu, and RISC OS

        icon as there is a puzzle to solve

    3. beekir

      I was going to build a VMware + Linux server at home but decided to use KVM instead and have no regrets.

      Open source all the way!

  4. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

    That on its own is enough for me to make my next box a Unix one.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      UNIX?

      I'd love it if there really was a UNIXtm option (please remember that *BSD* [replace "*" with Free, Open, Net, Lite, 386 etc. until all BSD variants are covered] is only UNIX in it's design philosophy, not in it's implementation or standards compliance).

      The last remaining UNIX implementations are AIX, HP-UX and Solaris. I cannot think of any others, and I don't think that IBM, HP or Oracle make workstation class systems that run any of these any more (although you may be able to run OpenIndiana on PC type systems, but I don't know whether the UNIX certification follows the fork). They are now classed as server operating systems.

      I think that officially, you still can buy UnixWare, but I would not know how to contact any distributors.

      Some may want to remind me that that Apple obtained UNIX certification for OSX, but they have not maintained it, and IMHO it was no more UNIX than OpenEdition MVS was on the mainframe.

      It was not always like this. I used to run AIX on desktop systems as my daily driver, and many people used Solaris and Ultrix (and other defunct UNIX variants) on workstations in the past.

      No. Forget UNIX. Go Linux instead.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: UNIX?

        "No. Forget UNIX. Go Linux instead."

        Concur. However, if you want a very UNIX-like Linux, Slackware is your option ... and I personally like to see a very UNIX-like BSD on servers (and some Internet-facing gear).

      2. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: UNIX? @me and the downvotes

        I'm not asking for more down-votes, but I'm honestly interested in the thinking of the people who down-voted my previous post.

        I want to know whether there are any more UNIX die-hards like me, whether it was Linux haters, or whether people just don't like my pedantic posting on UNIX, Linux and BSD.

        I'm very much interested in keeping UNIX and the UNIX philosophy alive. I don't actually see Linux doing that (at least in it's mainstream Redhat, Debian and Ubuntu guises), because the Microsoft way of thinking has poisoned the ecosystem.

        One of the reasons I am interested is that I see my remaining working days as being AIX related, and I could do with a newer home AIX system than the 44P running AIX 5.3 that I have. But there just aren't any affordable (to me) options. Most second user Power6 and later systems are too pricey and rackmount, and I've not crossed the bridge of trying to smuggle and set up a datacentre class system past my wife...

        I did see somebody seriously use QEMU to run AIX in emulation, which was a bit strange, but probably won't do what I want.

        But one of these days, I will do as Jake suggests, and take a closer look at Slackware.

  5. HAL-9000
    Windows

    Somethings never change

    Egregious as ever, it is obviously too much to expect M$ to behave in good faith. According to statcounter, edge market share is 3.99% compared to Chrome's 64.7% and Safari's 19.1%. Presumably if users don't want Edge then they'll have it rammed down their throats for good measure

    1. Marcelo Rodrigues
      Devil

      Re: Somethings never change

      "Presumably if users don't want Edge then they'll have it rammed down their throats for good measure"

      Not just rammed down, but shoved up too.

    2. jgard

      Re: Somethings never change

      You say it's too much to expect hat MS will act in good faith, as if that is unusual among big tech companies. If you think MS are anywhere near the worst offenders, you haven't been watching the news. This browser stuff is shity behaviour, but it's nowhere near subverting democracy or a million other things Facebook, Apple and Google get up to with our personal info.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Somethings never change

        They may not be the "worst", but they are still offenders. Are you of the opinion that petty theft should not be prosecuted as long as there are still muggings?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fuck it. I'm going back to Windows 98.

    1. Joe W Silver badge

      Do yourself a favour: 98 SE

  7. JamesTGrant

    Sym link?

    Can you rename edge executable and create a symlink to the browser exe of your choice? I assume the api that passes in the url is pretty standard and they don’t do anything special if it’s edge: prefixed?

    1. Pirate Dave Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: Sym link?

      I've tried renaming other exe's (notepad and calc) and it's more than a little bit of a PITA. And those are low-end, low-importance programs. I can only imagine MS has the Edge exe ringed with their highest security, hidden three layers deep in alternate data streams, and calculates and checks the CRC every 30 minutes to make sure it hasn't been hacked, err, changed. Oh, and then add-in that it's Windows 11, and all bets are off.

      1. Wayland

        Re: Sym link?

        That's probably why they increased security on Windows 11, so they can make sure people only use Edge.

      2. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: Sym link?

        Yes, probably the same paranoid level of security anti-user DRM that caused Snipping Tool to break for several days in Win11 due to an expired certificate. Apparently Windows needs to verify that you are using the authorised version of Snipping Tool or else it won't run it. Probably the same goes for Edge.

        Icon: the ultimate in anti-user DRM

      3. hoola Silver badge

        Re: Sym link?

        The real nasty that is making so much more difficult is the "Click-to-run" shite.

        We have always "Clicked-to-run" it is called using a mouse. Why the hell they have to put a wrapper round stuff other than to obfuscate it beats me.

      4. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Sym link?

        Renaming and replacing with xyz browser, probably will cause Defender etc. to flip...

        Basically, the more secure a system is the more like a house of cards it becomes.

    2. JetSetJim Silver badge

      Re: Sym link?

      Isn't there a plugin (e.g. GreaseMonkey) that can be used to modify the URL links in a web page?

      Not entirely friendly for the general population, though

      1. PerlyKing Silver badge

        Re: Sym link?

        It sounds like that might work if you're opening links inside the browser, but if the link is handled by Windows it goes to Edge no matter what. For example links in emails or PDF documents.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Sym link?

          It all sounds like a real PITA. So, you have Firefox or whatever open, click a link in some other app, and Windows, instead of using your currently open browser, forcibly adds the overhead of launching a whole other browsers just because. That's insane.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Sym link?

            "That's insane."

            No, that's expected behavio(u)r from Microsoft. What is insane is anybody expecting Microsoft to ever change.

  8. jonfr

    Windows 10 last version used

    It is clear that Microsoft is slowly pushing Windows users to subscription model (more locked down operating system). I guess Windows 12 is going to be subscription only. This is also against EU laws. I don't think Microsoft is going to get away with this for a long time. Just few years or 10 to 20 years at most (because slow process of justice in this).

    I wonder if I can run the only few games I play on Debian Linux with Wine (32 bit since I am playing mostly old games).

    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 last version used

      Why not have a look at the compatibility list

      I've been using Debian Testing (which has newer packages) for 2 years and very rarely have to run up Windows now. I also use Crossover instead of Wine as they are often ahead.

    2. Woodnag

      against EU laws???

      Really? Which laws?

      1. Felim_Doyle

        Re: against EU laws???

        The EU anti-competitive laws have been invoked several times in relation to Microsoft tightly integrating its software, including browsers, into the Windows operating system. Whether or not the US Department of Justice does anything about this latest anti-competitive practice, the EU Commission will although how long it will take is always an unknown. Really they need to do it now before the rollout of Windows 11.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Corp._v._Commission?wprov=sfla1

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BrowserChoice.eu?wprov=sfla1

        https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-21684329

        1. Woodnag

          Again: subscription model is against which EU laws???

          The claim was that the subscription model is against EU laws, nothing to do with "Microsoft tightly integrating its software, including browsers, into the Windows operating system".

          Photoshop is subscription-only, for example.

    3. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      Re: Windows 10 last version used

      "I wonder if I can run the only few games I play on Debian Linux with Wine (32 bit since I am playing mostly old games."

      Almost certainly yes. Ubuntu at least (for the purposes of wine I don't think Ubuntu versus Debian makes any difference..) , the "wine-staging" installed "wine-staging-amd64" (64-bit support) and "wine-staging-i386" (32-bit)... which is a real trip, it installs like 100 32-bit packages to support it (32-bit libc and base libs, 32-bit graphics libs, 32-bit mesa, 32-bit video codecs, windows supports scanners so it goes ahead and installs 32-bit SANE (Scanner Access Now Easy, Linux's scanner system), and on and on. But no matter, I'm not sure if all the 32-bit support libs even add up to 1GB of space.

      My friend's running Tiger Woods '99, a few of his other late 1990s to early 2000s games ran without a hitch, one had some nasty version of securom (came out in 1999 and turned out to not even be compatible with windows 2000 let alone xp, 7, etc., or needless to say the enviroment wine provides); naturally it ran once a "no CD" crack was applied. Two didn't run, and apparently don't run in newer Windows versions either; there were patches for both to make them run at least up through XP or 7 (I think they were written for like DirectX3 and patched to be compatible with like DirectX7 or so)... these patches made them run in Wine too.

      Fun thing on games that need the CD put in? You can double-click the ISO and Ubuntu (and probably most Linux distros) has a built-in ISO automounter (it does a "loopback" mount of the ISO, telling the kernel to treat it as a CD; Linux mounts the iso9660 or UFS (for DVD) filesystem, and this shows up in Wine just like a physical drive with a CD or DVD shoved into it). No fuss no muss. I remember using Alcohol 120% back in the day for that.

      It's pretty good running new games too, Valve has very good game support in the Proton system on Steam, Proton is a patched-up version of wine so these patches get upstreamed and filter back to wine over time.

    4. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Games

      BTW: I have literally yet to find a game that doesn't run in Steam/Proton (except those with 3rd-party DRM, which I avoid purchasing, for reasons unrelated to Linux). Even VR games work perfectly.

      You just need to tick the box that says 'Run ALL windows titles, not just officially supported ones' and Proton will do its best.

      Proton is a per-app tweaked fork of Wine by Valve, that is specifically designed to integrate with Steam, the Steam overlay, and SteamVR. It's amazingly good. And fast.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Games

        But what about non-Steam stuff, including non-gaming? And I've seen plenty of games on my list with Bronze and Borked ratings.

    5. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Windows 10 last version used

      "(32 bit since I am playing mostly old games)."

      It depends how old. There's also DosBox which successfully runs many great game of the past. After that, there's emulation for many older computers and consoles. Personally, I like FS-UAE for Amiga games. And MAME for original arcade stuff. Just for giggles I tried out Space Invaders on a Commodore PET emulator the other night, and a Galaxians clone on a TRS-80 emulator :-)

      There are 1000's upon 1000's of games on archive.org if you go the emulation route, many of the computer based ones in disk image formats ready to just boot and play. (I was never into consoles, but I assume it will be similar for them)

      1. jonfr

        Re: Windows 10 last version used

        The years are 2000's, early 2010's. There are not many newer games that I play. I have few newer games, but I plan on having a special Windows 10 game computer for newer games. The few that I have.

  9. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Impunity

    Microsoft are taking maximum advantage from this new Age of Impunity, in which any organisation that is big enough to err, persuade a few politicians, parties and public officials to look the other way can do pretty much anything it likes, knowing that any attempt to stop them will be delayed or dropped - and buried under an avalanche of whataboutery and deliberate obfuscation.

  10. ITS Retired

    In 2019 I bought a MacBook Pro because of Microsoft. I recently bought a refurnished computer and put Linux Mint on it. Both have many advantages over Microsoft. In fact two tin cans and a length of string has an advantage over Microsoft.

    Microsoft has lost the scrip. Personal computers are not owned by MS. They are owned by the people who bought them.Too bad our government is so corrupt, otherwise a nice class action law suite would be in the works,

    Microsoft needs or be broken up into its component parts. Then maybe they can have a real personal computer operating system again, that people can setup as they wish.

    1. matjaggard

      I use a Mac all day every day, but this statement is crazy "Personal computers are not owned by MS" - Apple are FAR worse at thinking they own your computer after you've bought it.

      1. Tim99 Silver badge
        Gimp

        Why do you think that they are worse? I too use a Mac everyday, mainly because the CLI *NIX stuff that I learnt in the 70s-80s still works. You can, if you want (currently), turn off System Integrity Protection; Secure Boot; etc;. I find that I can install almost anything that I want - Even if I had to write or compile it myself :-)

        1. Franco Silver badge

          They're certainly worse on mobile, essentially there is only one browser on iOS with the "alternatives" just bieng skins and Apple have 100% control over the apps that are allowed as there is no alternative to the app store.

          Unfortunately everyone is at this shit. Yes, what Microsoft are doing is bad, especially as Edge is now using Chromium and we are "edging" ever closer to a one-browser world with Safari having little traction on Winows and Firefox constantly shooting itself in the foot and pretty much everything else being Chromium based (Brave, Opera and others). Google are terrible for drive-by downloads and pushing their own agendas through and passing them off as standards, Apple have done a few shady things like pushing Safari as an essential update and giving everyone U2 albums instead of making it opt-in.

          If there's a big tech company on the planet that doesn't need at least one public slapping down I've yet to hear about them.

          1. Starkoman
            Facepalm

            Multiple web browsers on iOS

            That’s completely incorrect that “There’s only one browser on iOS”. To say that is absurd. I’ve been using Firefox on iOS for years and years now and there are plenty of others available in the AppStore.

            They work perfectly.

            AND you can choose which of them you’d prefer as the default browser too.

            Very few people ever need an alternative to the AppStore — if you do, you can always Jailbreak your iOS device.

            I suspect you’re not at all familiar with Apples’ mobile devices.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Multiple web browsers on iOS

              "That’s completely incorrect that “There’s only one browser on iOS”. To say that is absurd. I’ve been using Firefox on iOS for years and years now and there are plenty of others available in the AppStore."

              Wanna bet those are nothing but different lipsticks that are on the pig that is WebKit?

              "All iOS apps that browse the web are required to use "the appropriate WebKit framework and WebKit Javascript" pursuant to Section 2.5.6 of the App Store Review Guidelines <https://developer.apple.com/app-store/review/guidelines/#software-requirements>."

              From the Epic v. Apple case.

      2. Felim_Doyle

        Apple's unscrupulous control over people's iDevices, such as slowing down CPUs to disguise battery issues or encourage upgrading, is very wrong and the US DoJ and EU Commission need to put an end to it.

        https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-stop-apple-throttling-iphones/

      3. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Linux

        Traditionally, Apple HAVE been worse at treating their computers like a lease/rental (sorry, you can't open that case) but Microsoft have caught up and are determined to go much further. Meanwhile Apple have scaled back some of their old user-hostile practices (which isn't to say they are great, just not quite as bad as they used to be).

        If you want a computer that works for YOU and not someone else, use Linux. And familiarise yourself with some of the source code if possible - you may want to change it and contribute the odd pull request if you want it to behave exactly how you want.

        1. Tim99 Silver badge
          Linux

          ...a computer that works for YOU and not someone else, use Linux.

          I agreed with you until the ascendancy of Red Hat/Poettering.

          1. jake Silver badge

            ??

            I don't use RedHat & derivatives, nor do I use anything associated with Poettering. Never have, never will. You don't have to, either. That's one of the beautiful things about Linux, you can put together the bits & bobs that you like, and ignore the bits you don't.

            1. Tim99 Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: ??

              Yes, thanks. I go back to the 70s with *NIX. After the ‘NIX wars, we standardised on Xenix for a while. Then commercially Slack, then Debian, some Devuan after I retired. For home use, macOS does what I want, possibly because it’s a certified UNIX, and it is still very similar to the BSDs I learnt 30 odd years ago (I can remember that stuff; breakfast this morning might be a different matter…).

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: ??

                Then why propagate the "Oh knows! Teh systemd-cancer is taking over!" myth/FUD? Shirley you know better than to contribute to the ignorance of the GreatUnwashed?

                1. Tim99 Silver badge

                  Re: ??

                  Probably because I've been around this stuff for ~50 years and like the Unix Philosophy - Systemd is the opposite of that. I posted this here 6 years ago:-

                  1. It breaks one of the main strengths of UNIX - That every component stands by itself and can be managed separately.

                  2. The use of interrelated dependencies of systems that should be kept separate encourages "standard" distributions and, I suspect, will allow organizations like, say, Canonical to distribute a "premium" commercial product (like Red Hat) that will tend to limit user and developer choice; and encourages loading unnecessary insecure cruft.

                  A satirical(?) post I wrote in May 2018 as to why I thought it was/is a bad idea is here: How can we make money?

          2. cyberdemon Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            I agreed with you until the ascendancy of Red Hat/Poettering.

            Then use Devuan. It is impressively good.

    2. hoola Silver badge

      The same would apply to Apple, possibly even more so, they have the hardware and the software. At least with Microsoft you are (not currently) tied to their hardware. The same for Google, Android and advertising.

      This is not going to end well however the wheels of justice turn very slowly and they can all make enough money in the short term to cover any fines and legal bills.

    3. Alumoi Silver badge

      Personal computers are not owned by MS. They are owned by the people who bought them.

      Just like mobile phones, right? Those pocket computers full of unwanted stuff you can't remove without being root. And, as everybody knows, it's a piece of cake to root your phone. Last I've heard, Apple phones are easiest to gain root access.

  11. sinsi

    When I start a Steam game it uses the steam:// protocol, how is that any different?

    1. Felim_Doyle

      You choose to use it.

      1. Doverton

        And you choose to use these apps. If you install a different browser, that is used by everything that calls the standard protocols.

        This doesn't affect the browsing experience.

        This only effects a handful of Microsoft apps, that there are 1000's of alternatives to each one.

        This doesn't impact what happens when you click a link on a web page.

        It doesn't happen when you open a link from the run box.

        It doesn't effect what happens when any application asks to display a web page.

        It doesn't happen when a URI looks like this - https://somewebsite.

        It does impact those where a URI looks like microsoft-edge://somewebsite. This is a vendor specific protocol that is only used by the vendor in their apps.

        This is no different to Google or iOS or 1000's of other application providers.

        This is literally people getting upset because a handful of Microsoft applications use Microsoft products and technologies as part of their requirements stack. Almost every software developer on the planet prefers to use their own tools, technologies and products rather than build a dependency on another organisation. Just because you believe it will not make a difference does not mean that is true. if that was true, there would be absolutely no difference between browsers, but there are.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
          Stop

          Not an excuse

          "a handful of Microsoft applications use Microsoft products and technologies as part of their requirements stack"

          It's a call to an Internet website.

          There is zero reason for Borkzilla to force the usage of any browser to go open a web page.

          It is simply not acceptable.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "It does impact those where a URI looks like microsoft-edge://somewebsite. This is a vendor specific protocol that is only used by the vendor in their apps."

          It a feature that has already creeped. Now they are testing out enforcing it. What about when they decide that all links on all their websites use their special edge-only URI?

          List of companies that microsoft have bought, many of which still have seperate website used by non-MS users.

          List of websites operated by MS.

          Imagine all of that using edge-only links everywhere.

      2. Falmari Silver badge

        No I didn't

        @Felim_Doyle "You choose to use it."

        No you choose to use the game.

        I have nothing against Steam I like it, though GoG is now my first choice. But I originally had to create a Steam account many years ago because a game (not made by Valve) I had purchased (not through Steam) required Steam to install.

    2. cyberdemon Silver badge
      FAIL

      If you want, you can install another program and tell Windows to use it to handle the steam:// URIs instead of Steam (maybe some custom script you wrote).

      Not so with microsoft-edge:// - Have you READ the article?

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      It's different because Steam doesn't hijack your URL link to steam.com

      It is only redirecting links to the games you have installed.

      I think that's pretty much a basic functionality.

  12. DoctorNine

    Recidivism

    Some criminals realize that the price wasn't worth the crime. If the cost of the crime is too low to actually change behavior though, then it will almost always simply result in a return to the original criminal behavior, once the social sanction costs expire.

    It's been about a generation since IE. I'm sure this MS overstep will go by the same playbook.

  13. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    I actually don't think it's a big deal

    I actually don't think it's a big deal. I would oppose it for two reasons -- 1) It takes away user choice, if they're specifically running something like these apps to redirect these URLs then that's what they want. 2) You now have a API with random exceptions thrown in, that's not clean.

    On the other hand -- 1) Reduces security risk (of some unauthorized app claiming to be the URL handler.) Of course this line of argument leads to the walled garden iphone/ipad type approach, and I'm not into this at all. 2) It is stuff built into Microsoft's menus and such (.. I assume it's the included widgets using this edge-only url, not forced on third-party widgets.. if it's forced on third-party widgets that's crap IMHO). In the distant past there was a .hlp/.chm viewer for help pages, the weather and news app would have probably pulled headlines, articles, etc. and displayed within the app, etc. In other words you would not have had control over the appearance of these elements anyway.

    To be honest, I think I'd prefer my "real" browsing going on in firefox (and if you prefer Chrome, Chrome) and have the Microsoft menu-based stuff come up in it's own session anyway. I'm not a fan of taking away that choice, but I can see why they might want to do it.

    That said... I run Ubuntu 20.04 with gnome flashback desktop (I'm considering a switch to kde, I messed around with it in a virtual machine a few months back and it looks pretty good. For those who don't know, you can log out of your desktop and this gear icon on the login screen lets you switch between installed desktop environments, even if you have it set to auto login on bootup; so trying out a new desktop environment is pretty easy.) Maybe if I actually used Win10/11 I would find way to many "forced Edge" links and be annoying.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: I actually don't think it's a big deal

      "you can log out of your desktop and this gear icon on the login screen lets you switch between installed desktop environments"

      You can fire up a second (third, fourth, ...) desktop environment alongside the first on a second virtual console, and then hot-key between them. Back in the day when I was doing more dev work on Slackware, I often had xfce, gnome, kde and fvwm running concurrently. Drops tones of .files and .directories in your home directory, though. Suggest you create a throw-away login before playing with this option.

  14. Kev99 Silver badge

    Aside from this bit malarkey, I really hate that mictosoft insists on putting links to its paid sycophant partners on the Edge home page. And trying to get them permanently deleated requires jumping through more hops that at a Cirque du soleil performance.

    1. theBatman

      Yes, for years I've been astonished at the distracting news headlines in the default pages of their browsers. It seems very inappropriate for a business product, they've done it not because it makes sense but because it will generate clicks.

      I thought this quote from the main article hit the nail on the head:

      "Microsoft isn’t a good steward of the Windows operating system. They’re prioritizing ads, bundleware, and service subscriptions over their users’ productivity."

      1. Splurg The Barbarian

        Pretty much away to comment on the same quote. "They’re prioritizing ads, bundleware, and service subscriptions over their users’ productivity." That is EXACTLY what MS is about. Cash paid to them to download games to start menu that you cannot remove from your application in MS store on Home & Pro, the paid for links in Edge (only copying what Google has done with Chrome for years) and now this as it allows them more acess to user data & the telemetry you can't switch off outside of Enterprise is all you need to confirm this.

        MS are far from alone, but as their product is installed by default on every new non Apple device, they really need action taken against them.

    2. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Facepalm

      insists on putting links to its paid sycophant partners on the Edge home page.

      Not just in Edge, but the flipping Start menu!

  15. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Hmmm

    Is this <app>:<protocol> scheme related to why it seems that with most updates of Windows 10 resets the default handlers for PDF files back to Edge? That's annoying as hell.

  16. Grumpy Rob

    Back to their old ways!

    I'm still old enough to remember the Microsoft that put special code in early Windows to sabotage the Netscape browser. Don't believe me? Google it..Probably won't find anything with Bing :)

    But now, the recording of all your keystrokes,the sending of all your computer and application details back to M$ to "help them give you a better experience". It's same old, same old.

    My wife used Windows because she had to remote in to work, but a couple of years ago she was hit with a cryptolocker virus. I bought a NUC and SSD, set her up with Mint - she loves it. And it doesn't slow to a crawl during virus scans, INSIST on rebooting at the most inconvenient time after downloading Gigabytes of updates, run bazillions of services out of the box that mean the GUI is sometimes very slow and jerky, etc. Mind you - it was my fault that I hadn't backed up all her email, so any brownie points for setting up Mint negated by the loss of points for the email :(

    And it *still* amazes me that M$ can't simplify the setup of a new computer FFS. Yesterday someone in the office unpacked their new Dell desktop with Windoze 10 "pre-installed". Well, there's an out and out lie for starters. It took forever (well, over half an hour) to go through all the palaver and questions, with so many unexplainable delays along the way. And, at the end the only applications installed were the bloatware ones!!! By contrast, install Linux Mint and you go through three or four setup screens in a row (with hardly any waiting except a possible disk format), then go and have a cup of coffee and it all installs unattended. AND you've got Libreoffice, media player, graphics viewers already installed. When will people learn?

    1. My-Handle Silver badge

      Re: Back to their old ways!

      I might need to give Linux Mint another go. I had a look at it maybe three or four years ago, installed it on a "media centre" PC that sits in the corner of the living room and runs Netflix et al for our gloriously dumb TV. It's a very old machine, and has quite happily fulfilled it's duty for years on end. Had a few issues getting it to play DVDs though.

      Might need to look at updating it.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Back to their old ways!

        Apart from the DVDs, if it;s working, doing what you want and not connected to the wider world, why bother?

        If it's not broke, don't fix it. Something MS could learn from. Their problem seems to be the massively wide definition of "broke", not helped by designers and data fetishists seeing "broke" as "not working the way WE want it"

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Back to their old ways!

        Might try Slackware on that older box.

      3. Starkoman
        Pint

        Re: Back to their old ways!

        You *should* update it. Three or four years is quite a long time to go without.

        Also, the Update Manager has a menu item which lets you painlessly upgrade to more recent/current version.

        Hopefully, that’ll fix your DVD issue too (unless the DVD is hardware wonky).

  17. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Joke

    Why?

    In what possible way can it matter to MS *which* browser someone uses to access their services?

    After all, they all comply to international standards, right? So you get the same result on all of them?

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Why?

      "...they all comply to international standards, right? So you get the same result on all of them?"

      Not in my experience. I use Pale Moon and I have lost count of the sites that are mangled. Boxes overwriting the text, weird formatting of pictures and text, white on white text and so on. I suspect that we are going back to the old days when we had that "This site is best viewed with IE6." nonsense.

      I suspect that Chrome is the culprit here and that site are veering away from the standards and optimising for Chrome and its relations. I can't confirm this is you would have to put a gun against my head to make me even think of using the data gulping monster that Google has foisted on us.

      “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Sir Winston Churchill.

      Looks like he got that one right.

      Oh, and yes, I did get the joke but this is something that needs to be sorted out asap or we will be back in the "good old days" of Microsoft's pomp.

      1. Julz Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        Whoosh...

    2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Why?

      I suspect that Edge has some non-standard features that allow MS to add advertising to your browsing "experience".

      Just turn your paranoia level up to 11, and I'm sure you can think of lots of other possibilities, but that's the first one that came to my mind.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        Just turn your paranoia level up to 11 Windows version + 1

        Fixed that for you ;)

  18. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Undocumented Hooks

    Definitely anti-competitive IMHO.

    Those with long memories will know this practice got MS into trouble before, and that was for purely knocking a few CPU cycles off runtimes. I would argue that this is a rerun of it.

    I would think Anti-malware vendors will be the first to come out with workarounds (but maybe killing performance in the process). Will MS accuse them of reverse engineering their OS, I wonder?

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: I would think Anti-malware vendors will be the first to come out with workarounds

      Further thoughts: I think they would have to in order to work effectively. Surely baddies will submit all their pages with the microsoft-edge: prefix, circumventing anything like NoScript from getting hold of it and saying "no".

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: I would think Anti-malware vendors will be the first to come out with workarounds

        So microsoft-edge: is a own goal.

        Giving malware authors a simple means to ensure their specially crafted URL and payload will be loaded by Edge...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    World is looping

    Like in Outer Wild, the world is looping.

    Crypto wars are coming again, like in the 90s (Clipper chip, anyone ?), as well as Windows imposing its own browser, now called Edge, but vastly based on old 90s IE.

    Probably it's a sign than generation N+1 has to go through all the shit generation N went through ...

    1. David Neil

      Re: World is looping

      Err, Edge is a Chromium based browser, no IE in sight

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: World is looping

        Err it's not the puppet that counts, it's the strings.

  20. LDS Silver badge

    "various help links in the Settings app"

    Since the demise of WinHelp, Microsoft has been unable to replace it with a working context-sensitive help system. F1 no longer works in settings, and you get "Help from the web" links that return useless informations - they do a Bing search... that's another example of Windows going backwards.

    The problem is that most software has shifted from being designed to be useful to designed to hoard data, while cutting development costs.

  21. sabroni Silver badge

    Why shouldn't they do this?

    This doesn't sound dodgy to me at all. The only people putting this edge prefix on urls will be microsoft. Why shouldn't they open their own domains in their own browser? If they started to intercept other peoples domains it'd be an issue but I don't see the need to go to MS sites on a non-ms browser.

    Why do you need to follow the links that have this prefix? Can't you just copy the link, change the prefix, and go where you like?

    This is MS, within their own domains, forcing you to use their own browser. It's not "all my sites open in Edge" or "they're ignoring the url and doing what they like".

    Why aren't you using Linux?

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: The only people putting this edge prefix on urls will be microsoft.

      No, I don't agree.

      Microsoft have not thought this through.

      Malware purveyors will use it to circumvent normal channels to make sure their content gets put front of screen for unwitting people to click on it.

      1. jeffdyer

        Re: The only people putting this edge prefix on urls will be microsoft.

        "Malware purveyors will use it to circumvent normal channels to make sure their content gets put front of screen for unwitting people to click on it."

        How exactly?

        1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

          Re: How exactly?

          By prefixing all their webpages with the Edge prefix.

          When such a page gets referenced, it will be opened, not by the browser the user is using, but by Edge. It will not be visible to Firefox or Chrome.

          Any plug-ins, such as NoScript will not have chance to scan the page and apply its rules to it, so anyone using Firefox will be vulnerable to such links.

          Anti-malware providers will not be able to put workarounds into their products because MS will say they have reverse-engineered their code.

          Ok, anti-malware utilities and browser plugins could be tasked with scanning every webpage for edge links, but it is easy to obfuscate such links: this would apply to browsers as well as email programs such as Outlook and Thunderbird.

          If this is still not clear: please respond. I think this is important to understand. I may, of course, be wrong.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The only people putting this edge prefix on urls will be microsoft.

        As far as I'm concerned, Microsoft is a malware purveyor.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      "Why shouldn't they open their own domains in their own browser?"

      If it was just the help system maybe I could accept it is shown in a window with a standard system renderer, to ensure it is displayed properly without surprises (but not if it calls Bing).

      But why "search links from the Start menu, [...] and links sent from paired Android devices" should open in a browser different from the one chosen by users as their default one? The fact a domain is MS one is irrelevant - should Google be accessible only via Chrome, and any Apple domain only by Safari? Maybe Amazon should ask you to install its own one? A total balkanization of the Internet?

      "Can't you just copy the link, change the prefix"

      Very comfortable, that's what software is for, fight with it performing unneeded manual changes, isn't it?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

    we've seen this approach before: they've probably calculated that the time this issue takes before ending up in courts will take years, after which, many, many more years in court, after which, a good few more years in appeals and counter-appeals, after which a fine which will run into usd 10M (MAYBE!), by which time the profits from this hijack will have been way, way more. The 'system' encourages such behaviour, no less. Well, later rather than sooner, we will get a fart from an MS 'spokesbot' about how MS value and support openness and competition and hope to continue supporting such values, etc, etc.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

      Some of this is the Ford Pinto thinking of beancounters. (Google it it you haven't heard of it. Take your blood pressure tablets first though).

      As with Ford's Pinto they've worked out that the costs of litigation will be less than the advantages to themselves. But no one will die or get disfigured because of Microsoft, just irritated.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Trollface

        But no one will die or get disfigured because of Microsoft

        Depends if their hospital uses Microsoft Cloud

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

        Read this:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Pinto#Subsequent_analysis

        The infamous Mother Jones article was also known as Ralph Nader's attempt to make up for his complete fabrication of the "unsafe at any speed" Corvair myth. Unfortunately, he found yet another non-problem car to vilify. In all reality, the Ford Pinto was as safe, or safer, than every other car in it's class ... if somewhat uglier.

        Perhaps the folks who like conspiracies would do well to investigate these two cases ... and ask themselves why they, just perhaps mind, should question the authority of a non-engineer making claims about the engineering aspects of pretty much everything ... especially when that person doesn't even care enough about the subject matter to ever bother acquiring the equivalent of a driver's license[0] for the <thing> he is vilifying.

        But don't let facts get in the way of a good rant.

        (tl;dr version: The Pinto was a heap of shit for many reasons, but it was hardly the firetrap that the Popular Press made it out to be, and Ford was not in the wrong to defend itself.)

        [0] Nader never has had a license to drive ... somewhat similar to the folks on ::that:: side of YouTube spouting their drivel, no?

        1. Grumpy Rob

          Re: Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

          This is way OT, but I'll bite...

          "..the folks who like conspiracies.." - sadly, this seems to be a case of preferring a conspiracy theory to a simpler explanation involving "ambulance chasing" lawyers exploiting a real flaw in car design to get publicity. Oh - and make money :)

          And back then ALL American car manufacturers needed a kick up the arse to make their cars safer - just go to Youtube and search for videos showing car impact tests. It's truly frightening to see the older American hugemobiles pushing the steering wheel *through* the dummy driver's chest while more modern cars provide a lot more protection. So the end result was that all American cars became much safer. You may not like the way it happened, but it needed to happen.

        2. Smirnov

          Re: Microsoft did not respond to a request for comment.

          "Perhaps the folks who like conspiracies would do well to investigate these two cases ... and ask themselves why they, just perhaps mind, should question the authority of a non-engineer making claims about the engineering aspects of pretty much everything ... especially when that person doesn't even care enough about the subject matter to ever bother acquiring the equivalent of a driver's license[0] for the <thing> he is vilifying."

          The same happened to Windows Vista when wannabe-scientist Peter Gutman posted his loony theories of how Vista works, all without having even used it once.

          And like with the Pinto story, the stupid media spread the nonsense unchecked.

  23. Not previously required
    Unhappy

    Dodging MS abuse

    I spend 90% of my time in Linux, including remoting in to some NHS machines.

    The 10% I have to use Windows, mainly for NHS use, I use operating system and office software for which I have paid real money (mine, not an employer's) - but still I have to "log in" to use a simple word processor as if I was using the 365 rental version. And it seems to want to shove adverts at me - I thought only "free" software did that, but what do I know, the free software in Linux turns out to be "Free as in Beer, Free as in Speech and Free from Abuse".

    Add in the mess that is Teams, which has stopped working in Linux and is still a dog in Windoze and the mess resulting from working for two or more employers who don't share a single system, and the mess that the NHS has made by buying Office 365 for all and ... (what's the character limit here?)

    1. 42656e4d203239

      Re: Dodging MS abuse

      >>Add in the mess that is Teams, which has stopped working in Linux

      Has it? it was working last time I looked - will check again later on when I get home... got Mint and Arch(well Manjaro cos I am not brave enough for native Arch) to try it on do teams in a distro and teams in a user supported repository respectively.

      >>and is still a dog in Windoze

      Yup - Teams is a real dog's breakfast breakfast of an application. Microssoft really should have thought it through before launching a World wide public prototype and claiming it as a finished product.

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Devil

        Teams works perfectly

        For its primary use-case as a data-collection tool for Microsoft.

  24. 43300

    Not exactly a one-off either, is it - see also Azure Virtual Desktop and the Azure-only versions of Windows Server (including SMB over QUIC) - these can only be run on Microsoft cloudy services or Microsoft's on-prem hypervisor (Azure Stack HCI). There's no option to run them on anyone else's cloudy services, or other on-prem hypervisors such as ESXi.

    1. styx-tdo

      also, HX protocol (superceding ActiveSync) will apparently never come to an Exchange server near you...

      no shared calendars for the on-prem crowd.

  25. Howard Sway Silver badge

    the Windows change broke Firefox’s Edge protocol workaround

    So this forced other browsers to make a workaround to counteract this shitty plan, and then they even go and circumvent that workaround to still force people into Edge?

    They need to be persuaded to stop this - my proposal is for all other browsers to introduce a fuck-microsoft:// protocol as an alias for https, then any website that wanted to protest about MS behaviour could fill their webpages with these links, and still have them work in non MS browsers. Edge would then either have to display the fuck-microsoft:// links, or they'd be forced to write the code in their own browser to handle them, and it'd be really satisfying to know that they had to put such code in their product.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Re: the Windows change broke Firefox’s Edge protocol workaround

      or they'd be forced to write the code in their own browser to handle them

      Even better, they would be forced to write the code in their own browser to handle them error free, which just may be too much, given their usual quality.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Isn't this a repeat of what already got them into trouble in Europe?

    Netscape was dead by the time this came to court, but I recall Microsoft being forced to offer choice on top of a fairly hefty fine (which, of course, they implemented in the most horrific way possible because they're Microsoft). Maybe time to ping this to that team again, because this strongly hints at a repeat offence (read: no wiggle room, MUCH larger fines and hopefully a slightly shorter time to work its way through the European Court).

  27. The Central Scrutinizer

    I have no idea what everyone is talking about

    I've been happily using Mint for years. I've literally almost forgotten about MS and all their shitful practices. It's quite nice in my computing world. My computer does what I tell it to, not vice versa.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: I have no idea what everyone is talking about

      What was that saying about ivory towers...

  28. Captain Hogwash

    Re: raise the issue with their local antitrust regulator or to switch to Linux

    Both!

  29. Omnipresent

    I've been telling you guys this.

    What's worse is it's all tied back to 32 bit IE, so when I uninstalled internet explorer, it also took my mozilla! I had to reinstall mozilla, which reinstalled IE! Micro, AND apple, AND google are all working with the US GOV, providing your data and info when needed, so I doubt there will be much change soon. Those "updates" they force on you are not really "updates", and it's all being hidden in the 32 bit systems left in the operating system, that they have cut you off from. stealing your cpu and ram and hard drive for spying and surveillance on you. They can do this because you have no choice, what are you going to do? turn them off? good luck with that. Get me a user friendly, solid release of another choice that gives the power back to the owner of the computer you shelled out for. I have no idea which linux version to use to support me. There are about a hundred, and i don't have time to do searches for basic needs on a windows or apple browser. I tend to disconnect from the internet these days. Not that THAT will stop them. Micro somehow updated it's edge to mozilla extension (which ties back to IE) with my wifi turned OFF! suggesting they will turn your wifi back ON when needed in a very sneaky fashion! You do NOT own your computer, but you SHOULD own your data!

    1. cyberdemon Silver badge
      Alien

      You do NOT own your computer, but you SHOULD own your data!

      Excuse me, but I own both.

      And while I agree with some of your points, your post reads like a rabid conspiracy-nitwit of the kind that just discredits those of us with an actual logical point to make about the degree of control exerted by the megacorps.

      Also, please learn the function of the carriage return key. You know, the one that looks like a backwards L-shaped arrow.

      And if you're that paranoid, wait until you read about Intel Management Engine... There's no hiding from the CIA.

    2. BPontius

      Re: I've been telling you guys this.

      Even if you never use a computer, Windows or the Internet, you are tracked and data is collected from, banks, credit/debit cards, DMV, drivers license, subscriptions, prescriptions, purchases, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, cameras, license plate scanners, cell phone, GPS (in phone, PC, laptops, cars, watches, toys), healthcare, credit reporting agencies. Linux will not prevent or hide you from data collecting.

      I will admit that I am paranoid, but you leave me in the dust! Seems you need a better understanding about the Windows O/S and from your descriptions of one program installing or uninstalling another seems like user error or a virus/hack. The 32-bit system within Windows is there because most programs run in 32 bit mode, afraid you will find Linux has an equivalent design to run 32 bit programs in a 64 bit O/S. ALL companies work with the Government to provide data about you, even before 9/11 device drivers and programs were collecting data.

      1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I've been telling you guys this.

        I see it as my goal in life to inject as much incorrect information as possible into databases being built about me.

        I routinely use the wrong birthdate when registering for "free" sites, I have a junk email address I use whenever I buy anything, and I frequently buy things for work using my personal information. The wife and I share an Amazon account, so any AI algorithm is trying to balance techy vs family type purchases.

        Fight the power!

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I've been telling you guys this.

          When filling out online forms that are obviously for nothing more than marketing purposes, I was born on February 29th, 1904. I am a one-legged black lesbian lumberjack who commutes from the Bay Area to the Pacific North West on rollerblades.

          I also have a double handful of "found" club-cards that I use at random. And etc.

          Will I make any difference as an individual? Of course not! But I still enjoy "corrupting" marketing databases, in my own small way. I also enjoy passing this option along to other people ... You wouldn't believe the number of times somebody has looked at me in shock and said "That's illegal!", thus giving me the opportunity to educate them. Many are now doing similar as a direct result. From little acorns ...

          Remember, kiddies, we do NOT owe the marketers of the world access to our real information. Lie to them at any and all opportunities! Fuck up their statistics, make their already useless "product" even more useless. Maybe the idiots who actualy pay them to place ads will start to notice that they are paying to shove oven ads at me ... despite the fact that I bought a new oven last month and so am unlikely to need a new one for some yearsdecades.

          Before you say it, NO, you are NOT benefiting from lower prices! Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Twitter are the ones getting richer, not you ... The manufacturers are passing their advert budget on down to you, the consumer. You would actually be paying LESS without the marketers.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: I've been telling you guys this.

        Some of us take steps to minimize that data collection. YMMV.

        "Linux will not prevent or hide you from data collecting."

        No, but in one swell foop it eliminates a large portion of it. What's not to like?

    3. JamesTGrant
      Flame

      Re: I've been telling you guys this.

      I feel very strongly and will share my opinion on a tech website comment section but I don’t you to suggest an alternative or any way to make my situation better. I don’t care what you suggest, I’ve already decided it’s too hard. I’ve got my pet peeve, don’t you try and take it away!!

      Btw - CentOS/Alma/Ubuntu/Mint/Elementary/PopOS any easy to come-by, are totally fine and much easier to install than you might imagine. I dare say you might enjoy the experience, you could try them out booting off a memory stick in most cases. Personally, I work on a Windows 10 machine and agree that Windows is bizarrely uneven throughout.

  30. fluffymitten

    As an aside...

    Why does Outlook insist on opening IE11 if you choose 'View in Browser' for an email?

    I quite often use that feature to save a PDF of an emailed receipt without all the header carp and it just vexes me a little each time that the application can't either call the default browser or, at least, a more modern one.

    Maybe I'm the last person to the use the feature and MS are waiting for me to die.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: As an aside...

      If I remember correctly, Outlook uses the .mht & .mhtml file extensions for that feature, and opens whatever is assigned.

      You can change it to a different app under default apps by file type.

      But, on my Win 10 Ent work laptop, I can only pick IE or Edge (my Win 10 Home system only has Edge as an option), with the only other option being to pick from the MS Store.

      i.e. No other local browsers or apps are listed, so if you have Chrome, FF or some other browser installed, there is no option to pick that other browser (might work if installed from the Store I guess?).

      Also changing it to Edge, and it doesn't actually work properly anyway. It does open in Edge, but it just shows a big lump of plain text with zero formatting, not even line feeds.

  31. rafikiphoto

    Yep. MS makes the decision to migrate to Minty much easier than ever. I was doing a fresh install of W11 on my Surface Pro 3 the other day. The first time I was in a Windows environment for a few weeks. I was horrified at all the extraneous stuff and privacy-invasive stuff they hurled at me. As soon as the install was over I plugged in the Mint 20.2 USB and installed it over W11. I now just keep my main machine on dual boot with W10 for my photo editing software and that's it. I boot into mint every morning which is very fast and has a very stable feel to it.

    1. jake Silver badge

      I haven't bothered to boot Windows for the first time in around a dozen years ... Boot from CD/DVD, format the drive, and install Slackware. It's easier that way.

  32. adam payne

    Old Microsoft is back:

    Whatever next? hidden patches?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Do you think they ever stopped?

  33. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

    I am not sure why it is a problem if the website designer to give an OS a hint what browser it should prefer.

  34. Binraider Silver badge

    Cue anti-competitive lawsuit in 3, 2, 1... GO

  35. Slx

    Maybe they like paying fines?

    This looks like it will walk straight into a EU anti trust fine. Can’t really see how it won’t.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Maybe they like paying fines?

      Simple. They've found it's easier to lobby and bribe the politicians. I've yet to see a megafine stick, have you?

      1. Slx

        Re: Maybe they like paying fines?

        They can appeal through a few layers of EU court processes, but they eventually have to pay up if they lose the appeals. Microsoft paid € equivalent of US$611 million in 2004.

        It was fined again in 2013 for similar reasons .. €561 million.

        The formula for EU fines has moved to a % of global turnover, because for some of these mega corporations it's chickenfeed if they get fined a few million, or even tens of millions.

        To be fair to the EU institutions, they do follow through consistently and tend to pursue cases quite methodically and without backing down.

        Lobbying in Europe tends to be aimed more at the legislative processes than after the fines have been issued as it goes into court processes at that stage, which can't really be lobbied.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Maybe they like paying fines?

          Even that could be obfuscated. Could that be one reason Google and Facebook splintered off a chunk of their operations into so-called parent companies (Alphabet and Meta, respectively), to create an "other hand" to deflect most of the turnover? And then use those "other hands" to lobby the legislatures to legitimize their underhanded dealings?

  36. Torquemada_131

    I have no interest in EDGE,... If it opens at the request of a notification or app, I close it immediately after I've copied the URL.

    The last time I put any focus on Internet Explorer was 2009.

    Android is OK,... But I'm now wondering how long it will be before Google or someone else develops a low impact Operating System to wrench Microsoft's grip on the OS Market.

    IIRC the market developed the term "Bloatware" to describe WINDOWS® and it's ever increasing need for Hard-disk space and resources.... That hasn't changed.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      >But I'm now wondering how long it will be before Google or someone else develops a low impact Operating System to wrench Microsoft's grip on the OS Market.

      Well... OpenVMS for x86-64 is due to be released real soon...

      1. The Equestrian

        Very true

        Been working with OpenVMS since the mid 80's and not looked back since except for every company I have worked for insisted I use Windows to work with it once it appeared with VT emulators, although I must admit PuTTY rules...

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Very true

          "Been working with OpenVMS since the mid 80's"

          Neat trick, that ... OpenVMS didn't exist until late '92.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Bloatware

      Bloatware, as a term, was in use in the BSD world long before Windows ever existed. It is a subset of Creaping Featurism. See also "second system effect", from Fred Brooks 1975 tome "The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering".

  37. BiffoTheBorg

    Maybe Microsoft is right, Edge has a great logo, why do I want to use Firefox anyway, I mean no one else does, right?

    The rest of humankind uses Chrome haha and that isn't Microsoft at all.

  38. grandmasterp

    Wow, so many getting hopped up about a few Microsoft-specific links directing to their browser. Their own news service and the OS Settings page links? Really?

    Edge is actually better than Chrome now btw.. Uses significantly less memory on all platforms. But this is not a huge deal except for the fanatics.

  39. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    I don't like this idea. I am unsure why they are doing it. I doubt they make much money from edge, as they probably have all the data they would get from the browser due to them writing the OS. It could be to ensure that there are no compatibility problems between the site being displayed and the application displaying it. For instance, some Microsoft Applications (e.g. some versions of Outlook) use the browser engine to render the UI (in part or whole). Surely they could make this work with any Chromium based browser? After all, they are all supposed to be standard.

    Still I hate this idea.

  40. Sil

    I don't condone Microsoft's decision, but it's been years since it was dominating the browser industry, so, given its market share, it can probably do whatever it wants.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft employee here. Microsoft has really changed and it's just so weird these one-offs keep happening.

    ^ Sample comment from Kool-Aided Microsoft employee

  42. sokolnik
    Linux

    one response

    Time for Linux-live usb stick!

  43. steviebuk Silver badge

    Its

    1998 all over again. They clearly abused their position back then if you watch Bill Gates deposition. Seems like they didn't give a fuck about losing back then and just waited several years before doing it again.

    This time however, I assume I'll be watching Sat Navs deposition instead.

    Quick simply, what a cunt move.

    1. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Its

      My posts loose meaning when I either can't proof read or struggle to type pissing properly on a mobile.

  44. xyz123

    Since the edge browser is just a .exe, could we simply replace edge.exe itself? I doubt the system does any internal checks for filesize etc......

  45. Long John Silver
    Pirate

    Is this so across all flavours of Windows 11?

    Presumably Windows 11 will, like its predecessors, come in distinct flavours and prices. If so, is the restriction discussed here across the board or only applicable to the home user platform?

    Not that I much care other than watching Microsoft entering the special hell reserved for bloated organisations riddled with complacency engendered by market dominance and, in this case, saddled with a chequered legacy demanding backward compatibility.

  46. david 12

    Not all one way

    I've been using Edge for a while, including development builds for a while, and I didn't like the feature where when you dragged a URL from Edge to the desktop, it created an 'Edge' shortcut instead of a generic URL shortcut. I'm glad that MS removed this feature from Edge. Tied shortcuts for OS features I can live with.

  47. John Savard Silver badge

    Not Necessarily Bad?

    If the microsoft-edge: protocol is used only for functionality built into the operating system but in the form of web pages, locking it in to a specific browser may make sense. For example, if they made Help screens or the Windows Update function web-based.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: if they made Help screens or the Windows Update function web-based.

      *IF* Edge had a rule embedded in it that ignored all hyperlinks within Edge-Only pages then that would ensure malware could not be invoked. Can we trust MS to write Edge to do that? (Easy to test).

      *BUT* imagine a Help Screen served up in this way that had a hyperlink in it. Just one hyperlink is all that is needed. When the OS serves up that Help Screen, no problem, it would however, have to be generated on the fly by the OS and force-fed to Edge (no wait-states inserted that could give the opportunity for a third-party process to slip in and run meantime), not referencing a file that has been spawned to the hard drive, either at installation or created then later activated.

      If that page sits on the hard drive then it is possible to substitute the hyperlink with a bad destination.

      With all the buts: what is the point of going to all this trouble? MS is effectively contending that their ability to detect malware served up that exploits this 'internal' mechanism is faultless. Do we believe that?

    2. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Not Necessarily Bad?

      At that point why not just run edge.exe directly?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    simple script workaround found

    https://github.com/AveYo/fox/blob/main/ChrEdgeFkOff.cmd

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: simple script workaround found

      Interesting. It appears to work via the Registry's developer options (Image File Execution Options, to be exact).

      I suspect this will be soon treated by Microsoft as an exploit avenue (to attach things to say explorer.exe) and a sealed whitelist will be added for programs that cannot have debuggers and the like attached.

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