Microsoft is bringing huge changes to app pinning and app defaults in Windows 11

Windows 11 app defaults

Microsoft has unveiled plans for what it is referring to as "a principled approach to app pinning and app defaults in Windows". The company has outlined sweeping changes that are coming to Windows 11 that will give users greater control over their computers.

The updates mean that the pinning of apps to the Start menu, desktop and taskbar will respect user choices, and adjusting the default apps used to open specific file types will be much easier. Microsoft says that the changes -- which are due to hit the Dev Channel soon before making their way to everyone else -- will also benefit developers.

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Microsoft's primary aim with the new approach is to ensure that no unwanted changes are made to Windows by software that is installed.

In a blog post about the company's plans, Microsoft's Tali Roth and Aaron Grady says: "We want to ensure that people are in control of what gets pinned to their Desktop, their Start menu and their Taskbar as well as to be able to control their default applications such as their default browser through consistent, clear and trustworthy Windows provided system dialogs and settings".

The post continues:

Third party applications running on Windows and Microsoft’s own apps and features will have access to methods for pinning to these key user experiences and access to directing users to change defaults. Apps may offer features to lead users to the appropriate dialog or setting, but users are ultimately in control through standardized and clear experiences to inform their decisions.

Microsoft says that it is making three commitments:

  1. We will ensure people who use Windows are in control of changes to their pins and their defaults.
  2. We will provide a common supported way for application developers to offer the ability to make their app the default or pin their app to the taskbar. This will provide users a consistent experience across all apps.
  3. Microsoft apps will use the same common supported methods for pinning and defaults.

The company has also announced an extension of its existing ms-settings: URI scheme. This will see the introduction of a new Settings deep link URI for applications to take their users directly to the appropriate location in Settings for the user to change their defaults.

When it comes to app pinning, Microsoft says:

For pinning, we will soon introduce a new publicly available API that will enable apps to pin either primary or secondary tiles to the Taskbar. This API will always invoke a trusted Windows user experience to clarify what is being requested to be pinned and to confirm that the user indeed wants to allow the pin to occur.

The move is part of Microsoft's desire to trust, safety and security to Windows users.

More information is available here.

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