Microsoft has recently announced its intention to make Edge the default browser for opening web links from the Outlook application. According to the article, this update will affect users of Microsoft 365 services, meaning that any links clicked within the Outlook for Windows app will automatically open in Edge. The originating email with the link will also appear in the Edge browser’s sidebar.

Why is Microsoft making this change?

According to Microsoft: “To improve your experience between email and browsing, letting you see them both at the same time, in the same place. No more switching back and forth between apps. To provide a unique experience—at Microsoft, we strive to create the best customer experience across our products. To reduce task switching and improve workflow and focus—by opening browser links in Microsoft Edge, the original message in Outlook can be viewed alongside web content to easily access, read, and respond to the message, using the matching authenticated profile.” 

Microsoft has assured that this modification will not impact a user’s selected default browser, web links will automatically redirect to Edge. This setting will be the norm moving forward unless overridden by the user or system administrator.

If a user wants to open links with the browser set as the default in Windows Settings, they need to apply the following steps: “You can choose your preferred browser for opening links from Outlook the first time it launches in Microsoft Edge. After that you can change this setting in Outlook at any time—select File > Options > Advanced > Link handling and choose your preferred browser from the dropdown menu.”

The article states, “To use the system default browser for opening web links from Outlook, this policy needs to be enabled and the System default browser selected.” Configuration can be done through the Microsoft 365 Apps Admin Center or the Administrative Templates for Microsoft 365. However, Microsoft 365 for Business subscribers cannot change this policy for the Windows Outlook app and will need to adjust the settings manually.

Initially, this shift to Edge was only planned for Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscribers, but Microsoft has since expanded this to include business subscriptions as well.

Microsoft 365 for Business users will gain policy-setting abilities when Microsoft extends this default switch to Microsoft Teams. No timeline for this switch or for the implementation of these changes to Outlook for Windows and Microsoft Teams was provided in the announcement. The new policies will only affect Windows 10 and Windows 11 users, not those on macOS.

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