How to change default browser to Firefox

Updated April 17, 2017

Many computer users have more than one browser installed. In these instances, the operating system needs to know which program it should run for any HTML document or Web page. Firefox can be designated as the default Web browser. This means that whenever you open a link or Web page, Windows will choose Firefox and ignore all the other Web browsers you have installed. There are two methods to set the default browser.

Within Firefox

Locate Firefox on the computer. This can be achieved either by looking for a Firefox icon on the computer Desktop, or by scrolling through the programs available in the “Start” menu.

Double-click on the Firefox icon, or click once on the Firefox entry in the “Start“ menu. This will open the Firefox browser.

Look along the top of the Firefox browser window for a row of buttons. Press the “Firefox” button. In Windows XP this is called “Tools.” Selecting this option will show a list of functions. Select “Options” from this list. A window opens.

Select the Advanced icon, which is the last in a row of symbols along the top of the Options window. The Advanced page is represented by a cog. In the opened page, click on the General tab. Look for the “System Defaults” section towards the bottom of this page. Click the button that says “Make Firefox my default browser.” Click OK to close the window.

In Windows Vista or Windows 7

Click on “Control Panel” in the “Start” menu. In the Control Panel window select “Programs.”

Select “Set your default programs” in the list under the “Default Programs” heading.

Choose Firefox in the left panel of the window. This will make a number of options available in the main panel of the window. Click on “Set this program as default” and press the OK button at the bottom of the window.

In Windows XP

Select “Control Panel” in the “start” menu. In the Control Panel window select “Add or Remove Programs.” This will open program utilities.

Look in the left panel of the Add or Remove Programs window to find “Set Program Access and Defaults.” Click on this to show three radio buttons in the main panel of the window.

Click the Custom radio button and this section will expand, showing more options. In the Custom options click the Mozilla Firefox radio button in the “Choose a default web browser section.” Click the OK button at the bottom of the screen.


Be careful when downloading new browsers in the future. Many will ask you if you want to make their browser the default. If you agree to this Firefox will no longer be the designated default browser.

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About the Author

Stephen Byron Cooper began writing professionally in 2010. He holds a Bachelor of Science in computing from the University of Plymouth and a Master of Science in manufacturing systems from Kingston University. A career as a programmer gives him experience in technology. Cooper also has experience in hospitality management with knowledge in tourism.