Windows: Standard apps should be easier to select

Microsoft plans to simplify and standardize the settings for standard applications, for example for certain file types. Apps that want to pin themselves to the taskbar will now have to ask for permission to do so. The company wants to test the changes first in the insider builds of Windows 11 and then gradually move them into the official release builds.

Screenshot deep link call from Edge

Screenshot deep link call from Edge

Microsoft plans to provide API calls for a deep link URI to Windows settings in the future. Microsoft programs should also use them.

(Image: Microsoft)

Even with the new mechanisms, it is not possible to make an application the standard app for all processable file and URI types with just one click, as applications were once able to do. Microsoft has identified misuse of these options and therefore the path via the Windows settings is necessary. This should also increase the safety of users.

Microsoft wants to solve this with new API calls that provide deep links to the Windows settings. To do this, the developers drill the ms-Settings:-URI handler on. For example, a web browser could then refer directly to the settings for HTML pages, for example. The highlight: Microsoft Edge should also stick to this in the future and use the API.

The developers also want to provide a publicly accessible API that apps can use to pin Tiles to the Windows taskbar. This API aims to improve trust in Windows by making it clear what wants to be pinned and actually requiring users to consent to it.

Screenshot app asks for permission to pin to taskbar

Screenshot app asks for permission to pin to taskbar

In the future, apps will use a new API to ask users whether they can pin themselves to the Windows taskbar.

(Image: Microsoft)

Microsoft justifies these API extensions by saying that introducing them will provide users with the confidence and security they have come to expect from Windows. This is also intended to act as a countermeasure against unwanted changes to user settings. The company expects that app developers will soon implement these new “best practices”, i.e. recommendations for action, and plans to continue developing in this direction. One wants to set a good example and adapt Microsoft products to it; Microsoft Edge starts with a future update that will implement the settings for the deep link URI for the standards and the public “pinning API” for pinning apps when they are available, Microsoft writes in a blog post.

Microsoft has been pursuing the topic of standard applications in Windows for many years. At that time there was a lot of trouble with the EU and antitrust authorities in other countries in this regard. Since 2006, Microsoft has therefore been opening Windows to third-party software.


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