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Registry key for default browser RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello all,

    I have Win 7 with IE 10 installed. When I set FF or Chrome to be my default browser I find that it updates the value of \\HKCR\.htm, \\HKCR\.html and \\HKCR\http keys in the registry. However when I set IE to be my default browser (either using IE -> Internet Options or Control Panel -> Default Programs) these values are not updated. However Windows is still able to determine that .htm files are to be opened with IE. How does Windows determine that? It must be referring to some registry key. Which one is that?

    Please note that I am not asking how to make IE the default browser. I know how to do that. I just want to know how Windows knows that IE is the default browser. There are quite a few posts out there which have an answer but unfortunately none of the answers I found was correct - All answers mention that the \\HKCR\http key is updated which doesn't actually happen.

    Thanks and regards,

    Pradyumna


    • Edited by bhideP Wednesday, February 11, 2015 9:51 AM
    Wednesday, February 11, 2015 9:47 AM

Answers

  • Hi,

    \\HKCR\.htm, \\HKCR\.html and \\HKCR\http registry keys you mentioned just mean a new protocol is added instead of meaning that the computer current used browser.

    When you uninstall those other browser, those keys are also removed.

    The registry used to tell computer which are the default is the above I posted.


    Karen Hu
    TechNet Community Support

    Monday, February 16, 2015 8:01 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi,

    that's a know bug.

    the registry keys will be updated when you use the Set IE as the default option in Internet Options.

    You probably have the settings of the other browsers installed on your system to automatically set them as the default browser, negating the IE settings change.

    you can feature test in your web documents with document.mimeType.


    Rob^_^

    Thursday, February 12, 2015 12:08 AM
  • Hello Rob,

    Thanks for replying. I do not have settings in any browser which would automatically make it the default one. I even have turned off the option of all browsers that check it to be the default one. So I guess (or rather expect) that other installed browsers should not affect this functionality.

    As I said setting IE to be the default browser either from Internet options or control panel doesn't update the above said registry keys. Inspite of that Windows is able to correctly determine that the default browser is IE. So I want to know how Windows determines that. It must be reading some key in the registry - what is that key? or does it follow a completely different mechanism for that?

    Thanks and regards,

    Pradyumna

    Thursday, February 12, 2015 6:33 AM
  • Hi,

    These registries will be changed either when you change from Internet Explorer to other browser or from other browser to Internet Explorer in order to let Windows determine the default broswer:

    HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\GlobalAssocChangedCounter

    HKU\current user SID\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\

    HKU\current user SID\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.htm\UserChoice\Progid

    HKU\current user SID\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.html\UserChoice\Progid

    HKU\current user SID\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.xht\UserChoice\Progid

    HKU\current user SID\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.Xhtm\UserChoice\Progid


    Karen Hu
    TechNet Community Support

    Thursday, February 12, 2015 7:00 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for replying Karen.

    Of the keys that you mention I did not find the first one.

    Rest all are updated whenever we update the default browser.

    Isn't it a bug that Windows does not update the keys under HKCR because that is the place where user values and machine values are expected to be merged and stored?

    Thanks and regards,

    Pradyumna

    Thursday, February 12, 2015 12:56 PM
  • Hi,

    \\HKCR\.htm, \\HKCR\.html and \\HKCR\http registry keys you mentioned just mean a new protocol is added instead of meaning that the computer current used browser.

    When you uninstall those other browser, those keys are also removed.

    The registry used to tell computer which are the default is the above I posted.


    Karen Hu
    TechNet Community Support

    Monday, February 16, 2015 8:01 AM
    Moderator
  • I understand that the keys for default browser are different but along with those shouldn't the .htm/.html and http keys be updated too? These keys represent the programs to be used for opening html documents and making http requests respectively. In both cases user will expect that the default browser be used. So if some program is looking for these keys (since it works on file extension/protocol) then it may end up using some browser that is not the default one

    Let me know your thoughts.

    Thanks and regards,

    Pradyumna

     
    Monday, March 2, 2015 1:54 PM
  • when I set IE to be my default browser (either using IE -> Internet Options or Control Panel -> Default Programs)


    Which Default Programs?  I think you need to at least see a small window open implying that an .msi file is being run for there to be any significant change to the registry.   E.g. in W8.1 we now have ComputerDefaults.exe which takes us exactly to  Set Program Access and Computer Defaults  where we can click Custom and then go in and switch the default browser.  I don't think that W7 has that program but it does have that CP dialog and that's where you should be going to reset your default browser.  E.g. doing that both re-registers and resets the default browser.

    So, after you do that compare what you have from 

    C:\>ftype | find /i "iexplore"

    Otherwise you will just be changing one or two pointers.  You can use ProcMon filtering on Operation Is RegSetValue to see exactly what each procedure does.

     

    FYI



    Robert Aldwinckle
    ---

    Monday, March 2, 2015 6:48 PM
    Answerer