There are always some programs and apps that we don’t like, but that are configured by default and that we end up using on PC and mobile devices, because we don’t know how to change or because we end up getting used to using them. In this edition, we will teach you how to change this software to only use the applications you really want.

Changing pre-defined programs in Windows
When you double-click on a file, such as a video, a song or a document, Windows opens it in a program defined as the default option for that format and which, in most cases, is from Microsoft – such as the Edge browser.

If you like using other software more, just change the applications configured by default in the operating system. To do this, simply click on ‘Start’, then on ‘Settings’ (gear symbol) and on ‘Applications’. On the ‘Default apps’ page, which appears on the side menu, see what programs are being used to view email, maps, music, photos, videos and browse the web.

To change an application, click on it to open a box that shows the available options, including the possibility to download a new program from the Microsoft Store. Alternatively, right-click on a file and select ‘Open With …’. You can choose a program from the list or choose another software that you can then make your favorite by choosing the ‘Always use this application to open’ box.

Change pre-defined applications on your phone
Most iOS users know that Apple sets their own apps as standard and that the only way around this is to jailbreak the device, which can damage it and void the warranty. Who uses iPhones had good news with the launch of the latest version of the operating system, iOS 14: the possibility to change the pre-defined application for email and the browser.

If you have an Android smartphone or tablet, you have no restrictions and changing the apps that are configured by default is very easy although it may differ depending on the brand and version of the OS. Go to ‘Settings’> ‘Applications and notifications’> ‘Advanced’ and in ‘Default applications’ select apps you want to use.

Modify the browser search engine
Changing the search engine the browser uses is quite simple. If you use Chrome, click on the three-point menu in the upper right corner, open ‘Settings’, choose ‘Search Engine’ and then an alternative from the menu: Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo or Ecosia. If the option you want is not listed, click on ‘Manage search engines’ and add your preferred one.

In the case of Edge, the process is a little more complex. Click on the ‘Menu’ button (three dots)> ‘Settings’> ‘Privacy, search and services’. Scroll down to the ‘Services’ area and choose ‘Address and search bar’; here, select your preferred one under ‘Search engine used in the address bar’ or add what you want in ‘Manage search engines’.

In Firefox, open ‘Options’ from the ‘hamburger’ menu and click on the ‘Search’ panel. In the ‘Default Search Engine’ area, choose your favorite or manage it by adding and removing search engines under ‘One click search engines’.

On mobile devices, if you use Chrome, tap the three-point button, open ‘Settings’ and change the search engine.

New email client in Windows 10
When you click on an email address on the web, your predefined email client opens, allowing you to send a message. In Windows 10, most likely it is the Mail application.

However, if you have a Gmail account, you may prefer this application to open automatically when you click on an address, but since it is a website instead of a program, Windows does not provide that option. Here’s a solution to work around this: go to ‘Default apps’ (as explained at the beginning of this tutorial) and set the email for Google Chrome.

After this change, when you click on an email, Chrome will open, despite not opening a Gmail page. So, on the Gmail website, go to ‘Settings’>’ Privacy and Security ‘>’ Site Settings’, then open the ‘Additional Authorizations’,’ Processors’ area and slide the ‘Allow websites to request to become the default protocol processors’ to authorize this type of content.

Now, when you open webmail, you should see the double diamond symbol in the address bar that says ‘This page wants to install a service driver’, if you hover your mouse over it. Click and allow mail.google.com to open all email links. From then on, when you click on an address on a website, a Gmail window opens with an email to that address.

Changing the PDF viewing program
It is likely that whenever you open files in PDF format you will see them on the Edge as this is the default that Microsoft has in the operating system. If you prefer to see those files in Chrome, go to ‘Default apps’ again and choose ‘Select default apps by file type’. Scroll to ‘.pdf’ and switch to Chrome or another program to view this type of document.

Download to a different folder
Most browsers save the files you download from the Internet in the ‘Downloads’ or ‘Downloads’ folder, but it is possible to change that destination. In Chrome, go to ‘Settings’> ‘Advanced’> ‘Change’ in the ‘Downloads’ area. Choose the new folder and close the browser for the change to take effect. To change your download folder in Microsoft Edge, go to ‘Settings’> ‘Downloads’> ‘Change’ in ‘Location’. In Firefox, you must select ‘Options’ and then specify a new folder to use for downloads under ‘Files and Applications’.

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