Windows 10 S laptops won't let you switch from Edge or Bing

Google cannot be your default search engine in Windows 10 S.

When Microsoft revealed the details of Windows 10 S on Tuesday, it sounded awfully similar to the beleaguered Windows RT. But it looks like there’s a little Windows 8.1 with Bing in there too: Microsoft will not allow Windows 10 S device owners to change the default web browser or the default search engine, as first spotted by The Verge.

That means Microsoft Edge and Bing are the inescapable defaults for Windows 10 S, a stripped-down version of Windows 10 that only allows programs to be downloaded and installed from the Windows Store.

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft didn’t tout the defaults disadvantage during the low-buck operating system’s debut, including it it in an online FAQ instead.

Nevertheless, the truth is out there now, and it sucks for anyone who prefers Google or DuckDuckGo as their search engine. Not that there won’t be workarounds. Presumably, Microsoft Edge will be no different in Windows 10 S than it is in the current version of Windows 10.

If that’s the case, open the Edge menu (the three vertical dots in the upper right corner) and go to Settings > Open Microsoft Edge with > A specific page or pages. Now enter Google.com as your desired webpage, and you’ll be ready to use Google in a flash every time you open Edge.

Unfortunately, you can’t open every new tab to Google, and anytime Cortana kicks you to a web search it will be Bing. The Cortana-Bing marriage is also solid in regular Windows 10 unless you’re willing to use a few tools to help Cortana cheat on Bing.

As for Edge being the one and only default, that’s not as big a deal as there are no other browsers in the Windows Store right now. Unless Windows 10 S grows significantly in the coming years, we’re unlikely to see Chrome or Firefox hit the Windows Store. That said, Chrome did dabble on the “Metro” side in the Windows 8 days, so anything’s possible.

The impact on you at home: Even if Chrome or Firefox did show up in the Windows Store they could never override Edge as the default—at least not without a little trickery. Once Windows 10 S hits the market it’s only a matter of time before developers roll out some registry hacks or other workarounds to make Windows 10 S behave like a proper Windows build, just like with Windows RT. That won’t help anyone with a device that’s had its administrative privileges locked down by an IT department, however.

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Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
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