How to Configure the Default Internet Browser Using Regedit in XP

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Just like any other file format, Windows XP selects a particular program to open HTML files. This program is your default Internet browser--the program that runs automatically when you open a Web page. Internet browsers usually provide an option somewhere to tell Windows to use them by default, but if all else fails, you can modify Windows' behavior directly by editing the registry.

  • Click \"Start,\" then \"Run.\" Type \"regedit\" (without the quotes) and press \"Enter.\"

  • Use the left pane like a directory tree to navigate to \"HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\command.\"

  • Double-click on \"default\" in the right pane.

  • Change the contents of the \"value data\" field to the path of the executable for the program you want to use. For example, if you want to use Internet Explorer as your default browser, type:
    \"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE\" -nohome

    If you want to use Firefox, type:
    C:\Program Files\Mozilla\FIREFOX.EXE -URL \"%1\"

    Note: both of these commands must be typed exactly, including the quotation marks. Check online for precise information on path settings for your desired browser.

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