No Default Browser Please!
February 2, 2018 2:14 PM   Subscribe

I use both Firefox and Chrome on my windows 10 machine, usually only having one open at a time. Each instance has way too many tabs. When I click a link from an email or some other source, my default browser opens. If the default browser isn't the one that I happen to have open at the time, then there's an explosion of new tabs and a spike in memory usage as the other one tries to start.

Ideally I'd like to have a software solution that will either figure out what the currently loaded browser is and open it in there, otherwise a thing that pops up a dialog asking which browser i'd like to open the link in will do. Windows 10 doesn't seem to have a "don't have a default browser, ask me every time" option. Help!
posted by softlord to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This probably isn't a feature you can get, but you could set your default browser to something you don't actually use, like Opera or Pale Moon or K-Meleon, and only use it for links that open the default browser; you'd then have to copy-paste the link to your actual browser of choice.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:48 PM on February 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

An alternative solution: If you're using two browsers because one's for work and the other home or similar, then you can use multiple user accounts in Chrome.

There is a 'People' setting in the controls somewhere, I have one window with a group of tabs setup as my personal one, and another for work. Each has a completely separate set of bookmarks, history, downloads, saved accounts etc etc.
posted by chrispy108 at 3:04 PM on February 2, 2018

I use this amazing tool for my Mac - - it does exactly what you’d like, and googling “choosy for windows” led me here: though not sure if any of those are any good.
posted by conkystconk at 3:31 PM on February 2, 2018 [3 favorites]

A simple but probably still annoying solution is to force each browser to ask to be set as default on start, that ensures that whichever is open at the moment is the default.
posted by Bangaioh at 4:00 PM on February 2, 2018

I am IN LOVE with Choosy on my Mac. It clobbers exactly the problem you're discussing, so if there's an equivalent for Windows jump on it.

When I click a link in email, I get a little window that shows the icons of the browsers I have running. I pick the one I want to route the request to. It's quick and simple.
posted by uberchet at 4:12 PM on February 2, 2018

Wow, thanks for the Choosy hint! That solves an exact annoyance I have with my work machine. Working great so far.
posted by flaterik at 4:24 PM on February 2, 2018

I've used Browser Chooser 2 for this; its support for Edge is a bit iffy, but it works pretty well for everything else.
posted by Aleyn at 9:48 PM on February 2, 2018

Why do you have an "explosion" of tabs when you open a browser for the first time? This is not normal behavior unless you are telling the browser to open all of the tabs you had open when you closed the browser previously...
posted by kuanes at 4:52 AM on February 3, 2018

force each browser to ask to be set as default on start

Sorry, just thought this through and realised it wouldn't work if, for instance, you have firefox open, open chrome and set it as default, then close chrome while firefox is open. Disregard my previous advice, something like Choosy or ErisLordFreedom's suggestion seem the way to go.
posted by Bangaioh at 5:26 AM on February 3, 2018

Surely the simple solution is to set each browser to start without opening all previous tabs (as kuanes suggests). Just have the default home page or a blank page open when the browser starts.
posted by anadem at 10:17 AM on February 3, 2018

Sorry, to clarify, the problem isn't my tab management skills or lack thereof. the problem is that I dont want it to open a different browser if one is already open, and the reason is because i have a bunch of tabs set up in each browser. Some great software solutions listed here!
posted by softlord at 5:09 PM on February 3, 2018

tho @aleyn it doesn't appear as though it BC2 will work in windows 10 because of an OS change? What OS were you working on?
posted by softlord at 8:28 PM on February 3, 2018

Upon further testing, both BrowserChooser2 and BrowserSelect do in fact address this question perfectly well. They are both open-source and full-functioned.
posted by softlord at 7:21 AM on February 4, 2018

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