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Microsoft's Vista 11 Will Respect Your Default Web Browser in the EU, but Not Elsewhere: It’s All About the Ads

Reprinted with permission from Ryan Farmer. Also available in Gemini.

Windows 11 Will Use Geolocation And Only Respect Your Default Web Browser In the European Union.



Microsoft really doesn’t care what browser you want as your default on Windows.



There’s a reason. They need to ignore you so they can sell advertising you don’t want to see.



While on Linux, you can set your default browser to literally anything, Microsoft won’t respect your choice on Windows 11.



This has prompted the development of “Edge Deflector” programs that trick Windows into opening your default Web browser anyway when you click on links in parts of Windows that are hard-coded to open in Microsoft Edge.



But Microsoft considers these to be “threats” to their attempt to open up MSN garbage written by ChaffBots with ads plastered all over the place, and while they are content to let Windows rot to Hell in most ways, they have been very aggressive to push out changes to stop Edge Deflectors.



With a Preview Release in the Development Channel, Microsoft will finally open your default browser, but only if you live in the European Economic Area.



Everyone else in the world who uses Windows 11 will just have to put up with Edge opening whether they want it to or not, and having to go to roughly 27 different places to set a default Web browser that Edge will either try to steal back by tricking them into clicking one button, or ignore.



Since Geolocation APIs can generally locate a person even if they’re on a VPN, it won’t matter if you’ve set your VPN on or not.



Basically the whole point of Windows “11” is further locking down the computer and leaving more ads and shit on your desktop. It’s a very exploitative operating system and they’ve promised to make it worse. As they fire people all over the company, they plan to put ads in the desktop shell on top of all these traps that open Bing and MSN to trash your screen with ads.



If you want to know which program will come up when you click on a hyperlink, you need to switch to Linux.



When I was a teenager, about 14, I started maintaining an ad blocking HOSTS file.



I tried to use the MS MVPs list, which ended up being too much for Windows 98 to handle, and I also found that resolving the ad servers to 127.0.0.1 was not only taking longer than 0.0.0.0, but that 0.0.0.0 kept the size of the file down, which was important because Windows 98 also slowed to a crawl if the HOSTS file grew above a certain size.



I set out to create my own list, and started from scratch. I browsed all over the Web as I used it and started eliminating the major ad networks. Then I started using it to remove ads from programs I used in Windows. Pretty soon, I figured I could help other people avoid ads, and it would be very little extra work to put it on my GeoCities Web site.



Unfortunately, downloads of that ONE file started using up all the bandwidth that Yahoo! (whose ad networks were also listed in my HOSTS file), would give me.



I ended up running into Mike Healan, who ran a site called Spyware Info, and asking if he’d mind hosting my lists, and he let me link to it from my GeoCities site too, which relieved the bandwidth problem and allowed my other pages, which documented how to remove Internet Explorer and Trident from Windows 98, and where to get the replacement shell from Windows 95 OSR 2.1 at, among other things I found in Windows 98 and documented by plumbing the registry, as well as useful utilities and program recommendations, and advice on setting up firewalls and changing bad network settings that led to security problems by default.



It ended up sprawling and covering “Everything you ever wanted to know about Windows 98, but were too afraid to ask.”



I put a public domain header on my HOSTS file, and sent Mike updates every week.



Eventually, I found out years later that someone even used it as the basis of a filterset for the Internet Junkbuster, which turned into Privoxy. A local proxy that you could route Web browsers through to strip out ads and change HTTP headers and stuff.



So in a way, I contributed to ad blocking before anyone was thinking to do it in the browser, and I sat down and made it work better than trying to use what was out there.



Several years later, GoDaddy basically extorted Mike Healan. They demanded a ton of money to renew the domain, and when he couldn’t pay it, they sold it off to an outfit that PUSHED spyware on people, and took advantage of “Web rot” to trick all the people who clicked a hyperlink to his site.



Internet advertising, in my opinion, should be blocked so that the ad companies are starved and the Web becomes less commercialized. To “Starve the beast.” as Ronald Reagan put it.



If that seems to be the opposite of what’s happened, I’d say the results have been mixed.



However, consider that many of the tech layoffs are in the advertising industry.



Consider how mainstream ad blockers have gotten and all the paywalls and nonsense that’s gone up, only to be knocked down again by the Gemini NewsWaffle (web proxy to Gemi.dev) or Bypass Paywalls.



Mozilla, which is “full of scum and trash from [Facebook]” to quote Roy Schestowitz, on IRC (when I commented that Firefox enabled their “Suggest” adware again on me when I opened Firefox ESR on openSUSE (I’ve mostly switched to LibreWolf because of things like this!), attacked the users and removed Bypass Paywalls, so you have to install it from the author’s GitHub page.



Mozilla has pissed off their users, lost 77 million users in 4.5 years, and spawned at least half a dozen forks of Firefox because of the abdication of their Free and Open Source ethos.



For Chromium browsers, you have to download the repo as a ZIP file, go into like brave:extensions, vivaldi:extensions, chrome:extensions, or whatever, enable “Developer Mode”, and either drop it on the browser page or unpack the ZIP and “Load Unpacked Extension”.



I’ve come to surmise that I do way waaaay too much stuff to my Web browsers to keep them usable these days, but I can’t stop. I won’t stop. I wouldn’t know how to stop. 😛



It’s fair to say that “Starving the beast.” is working, because Google is panicking and conspiring to create “WEI” to stop users from modifying Web “content”.



Microsoft will work with them, as will Apple, because they stand to be the only three browsers that are even allowed to work, and then they can decide that they will only trust proprietary operating systems.



Gemini and Gopher are gaining users, including me, because of this Web mess. I probably use Lagrange almost as much as SeaMonkey or LibreWolf now.



But it will be a cold, cold, day in Hell before I ever install Chrome or Edge.



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