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I guess the title of the question speaks for itself, but ideally we'd like to set registry keys rather than run some kind of tool. That way we can make a script for it.

Does anyone know the registry settings that need to change to set IE as the default browser

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

In Windows XP



The format is like this:


where [prot] is the protocol (HTTP, FTP..)

In Windows Vista



The format is like this:


where [prot] is the protocol (HTTP, FTP..)

For more in depth info see this link.

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From what I've heard, there are a fair number of places you need to change in order to cover all the various ways of launching a browser.

I suggest you:

  • Make a different browser the default (possibly several, one after another, to try to cover all bases - they may well get it wrong)
  • Start RegMon
  • Make Internet Explorer the default (e.g. in Default Programs, or just by launching it if it offers)
  • Stop RegMon and find out all the "writes" that have been logged. They probably won't all be relevant, but it should be easy to work out which ones are.

That way you know you'll be covering the registry changes that IE itself would make. Repeat on different platforms to cover differences there.

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I tried all the above and also other web sites. Nothing worked. I found the answer quite by accident. I’ve spent many hours and days trying to figure this out.

Go to Default Programs on the Start - hit Program Access. Then to Choose Default. Use Current Web Browser.

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This will let someone change it, but it isn't the registry key that stores it, and it's certainly not an automatic way to do it (for a bulk change). – Falcon Momot Nov 14 '13 at 6:10

You can add below two lines in a bat file

reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main" /f /v "Check_Associations" /d "yes" /t REG_SZ

reg add "HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Associations\UrlAssociations\http\UserChoice" /f /v "ProgId" /d "IE.HTTP" /t REG_SZ

After running the bat, reboot/log off and log back since above two command lines are meant to change registry values..

Aditinal details can be found here

(Fixed)-Cant set Internet Explorer as the Default Browser !

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