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Cortana has many masters, but her real Master Chief is no other than Microsoft. In April, Microsoft made its Edge browser and Bing search engine the exclusive choice for Cortana search results. In other words, Cortana will ignore your default browser setting.

Microsoft may have good reasons, but it should be your choice whether or not you wish to follow Master Chief’s preferences. We’ll show you how you can interfere with Master Chief’s command and make Cortana use your default browser 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Switch to Microsoft Edge Yet 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Switch to Microsoft Edge Yet Is Microsoft Edge worth using while Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are still around? Is Edge good enough to be your primary browser? Read More and preferred search engine.

Cortana Search Basics

Previous Windows versions contained a search bar in the Start Menu. Whenever you hit the Windows key, which still opens the Start Menu, the cursor would home in the text field, allowing you to search your computer. In Windows 10, the search bar moved from the Start Menu to the Taskbar, though it can be hidden or minimized to the circular Cortana icon. Right-click the Taskbar and select Cortana to expand your options.

Cortana Search Box

While you can still hit the Windows key to initiate a search, another Windows 10 keyboard shortcut The Ultimate Windows 10 Shortcuts & Gestures Collection The Ultimate Windows 10 Shortcuts & Gestures Collection Windows 10 includes a wealth of shortcuts and gestures for getting around using your touchpad, touchscreen, or keyboard. Here's a big collection! Read More to be aware of is Windows key + Q. In both cases, you can ask Cortana anything. When you hit Return after entering your search, she will open the Best match. Alternatively, you can use the up and down arrow keys to select other results or click TAB three times to switch to search categories, which can help fine-tune your search.

Cortana Category Search

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When Cortana can’t find a result, she will search online. And that’s where things can get frustrating.

Why Microsoft Tied Cortana to Edge and Bing

Microsoft explains that “Cortana was designed to work with Microsoft Edge and is powered by Bing” to deliver “end-to-end personal search experiences.” For example, you can ask Cortana to show you close-by restaurants, let her help you with concert ticket purchases, or ask her to troubleshoot hardware issues, which will lead you to Bing-exclusive video help answers. Other search providers cannot provide this same custom-designed experience.

Cortana

To protect Windows 10’s integrated search design, Microsoft decided to make it a little harder to use other browsers and search engines with Cortana. By pairing Cortana with Edge and Bing, Microsoft can guarantee a “personalized, end-to-end search experience” because they have full control over how these services handle search requests.

On the downside, Microsoft can also shower you with custom offers, ads, and services, tailored to your needs. This in turn will meet Microsoft’s need of creating revenue in the software-as-a-service economy This Is How Microsoft Can Monetize Windows 10 This Is How Microsoft Can Monetize Windows 10 Nothing in life is free, not even Windows 10. Many millions of users will indeed have a free Windows 10 upgrade. But how are we going to pay for Windows 10 in the long run? Read More ; every click inside Bing counts.

windows-10-upgrade

If you have been enjoying Cortana’s services and Bing search results in Microsoft Edge How to Clear Browser History and Completely Reset Microsoft Edge How to Clear Browser History and Completely Reset Microsoft Edge How easy is it to clear your entire browsing history and reset the browser to a "clean" state on Microsoft Edge? We take you through it, step by step. Read More , we strongly recommend maintaining the default settings. Otherwise, here is how you can help Cortana escape Master Chief’s spell…

How to Make Cortana Search in Your Default Browser

Go to SearchWithMyBrowser on GitHub, click the green Clone or download button in the top right, select Download ZIP, wait for the download to complete, and extract the ZIP package (right click > Extract All…).

To build the program, head to the folder to which you extracted the files (SearchWithMyBrowser-master) and run the make.cmd file. You can also manually compile the program, and for that you should see the instructions on GitHub.

SearchWithMyBrowser Make CMD

To install the program and let it make changes to the registry, run the install.cmd file. A command prompt will open and ask you to move the SearchWithMyBrowser.exe to a permanent location of your choice, then paste the path to its new location into the command prompt, including the file itself, e.g. “C:\Users\tinas\Downloads\SearchWithMyBrowser.exe”. The prompt also contains instructions on how you can copy the file path. Tip: To remove the quotes, use the left / right arrow keys to move between the front and back of the file path.

SearchWithMyBrowser Install CMD

When the file path looks good, hit Enter, followed by any key to proceed. Next, Windows will ask you How do you want to open this? Choose SearchWithMyBrowser.exe and click OK.

How do you want to open this

Now reboot your computer! Several people commented to let us know that this step was necessary before the tweak worked. The comments also confirmed that the settings still work after the Anniversary Update 10 New Tricks of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update You Must Try 10 New Tricks of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update You Must Try The Windows 10 Anniversary Update is chock full of new features, but many aren't immediately obvious. Here we have summarized subtle and hidden tips and tricks you should really try out! Read More to Windows 10 version 1607.

The next time you use Cortana to search the web, she will ask you again which app to use. Make the same selection as described above and check Always use this app. Cortana will now always use your default browser How to Change Default Apps and Settings in Windows 10 How to Change Default Apps and Settings in Windows 10 Windows 10 makes a lot of decisions for the lazy user. If you would prefer to be your own master, you can set your own preferences. We show you how. Read More to open search results. For us, this worked without restarting Windows, but some users reported that a restart was required.

Again, you can manually make the required registry changes, as described on GitHub.

To restore Cortana’s default behavior, launch an elevated command prompt (Windows key + X > Command Prompt (Admin)) and enter the full path to the SearchWithMyBrowser.exe, followed by the command /unregister. In my case, it looks something like this:

"C:\Users\tinas\Downloads\SearchWithMyBrowser-master\SearchWithMyBrowser.exe" /unregister

Alternatively, you can manually remove the following registry entries:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\SearchWithMyBrowser
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\SearchWithMyBrowser
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\RegisteredApplications\SearchWithMyBrowser

To edit the registry, follow these steps at your own risk: Press Windows key + R to launch the Run menu, enter regedit, and hit Enter. In the registry editor, browse for the registry entries listed above and remove them.

How to Make Cortana Use Your Preferred Search Engine

If your browser doesn’t automatically redirect the Bing search to your default search engine, you can use a browser extension Everything You Need to Know About Microsoft Edge Browser Extensions Everything You Need to Know About Microsoft Edge Browser Extensions The one feature Microsoft Edge has been missing is extensions. Windows Insiders can now test the first official extensions and manually port extensions from Google Chrome. We show you everything you need to know. Read More to achieve this behavior.

Chrome extensions to redirect your search:

Note that redirecting your search queries using a browser extension can introduce a small delay.

Hey Cortana, Thank You for Collaborating!

Cortana is a powerful digital assistant 6 Coolest Things You Can Control with Cortana in Windows 10 6 Coolest Things You Can Control with Cortana in Windows 10 Cortana can help you go hands-free on Windows 10. You can let her search your files and the web, make calculations, or pull up the weather forecast. Here we cover some of her cooler skills. Read More who can help you organize your life How to Make Cortana Organize Your Life How to Make Cortana Organize Your Life Your life is so complex, you deserve a personal assistant. Meet Cortana, your virtual assistant ready to serve at the tip of your tongue. We'll show you how to effectively delegate tasks to Cortana. Read More .

It’s true that you will have the best experience, if you use the tools that were designed to work with Cortana. However, Microsoft shouldn’t assume that they know what’s best for you, which is why workarounds like the ones described above exist.

That said, you should experience Cortana to the fullest before you cut her off from Master Chief or disable Cortana completely How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's greatest productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with Windows 10's digital assistant or how to turn Cortana off for improved privacy. Read More .

What has your experience with Cortana been like? Have you come across any personalized Bing search results that you really appreciate? What makes you want to use Cortana with your default browser and search engine? Please share in the comments!

  1. Render
    November 12, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    This works great, but I was wondering if there was a way to always make Cortana open a browser when searching for something? I notice that for popular searches like for example "Michael Jackson" Cortana will open an info box in the bottom left corner where the Windows icon instead of a web page.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 14, 2016 at 10:25 am

      I'm afraid I don't know whether that's possible. If you find a way, or if anyone else knows how to do this, I would be curious to hear about it though! Thanks in advance.

  2. Jarka
    November 4, 2016 at 12:04 am

    Works perfectly! Thanks!!

    • Tina Sieber
      November 4, 2016 at 10:56 am

      Were you also able to redirect your results to Google? If yes, which extension did you use?

    • Jarka
      November 4, 2016 at 11:11 am

      To redirect the search engine I used Bing2Google :)

      • Tina Sieber
        November 4, 2016 at 11:42 am

        Thank you for the feedback, Jarka!

  3. yuchisu
    October 30, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Hi ,I got a problem that I can't redirect my search to Google .I've tried Bing2Google and Chrometana .
    ps .My search result is cn.bing.com.

    • Tina Sieber
      November 4, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Bing2Google is still working for other users, see Jarka's comment above. Did you get it to work in the meantime? Maybe try to uninstall and reinstall the extension.

  4. Aakash Mishra
    October 28, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Wait what? I followed every step and restarted my laptop only to read this error msg over the volume toggle button "No audio output device is connected." What is that all about? The script should not ideally hamper my audio settings right?

    • Tina Sieber
      October 30, 2016 at 10:53 am

      No, not at all! Not sure how this could be related. Did the error message come up again the next time you restarted?

      • Aakash Mishra
        November 1, 2016 at 5:39 pm

        No it did not come up later. Thanks, I almost panicked.

  5. Charles Milette
    October 24, 2016 at 11:40 pm

    To anyone concerned:

    I updated the build script. It should be more reliable and does not depends on Internet or .NET Framework 3.5 anymore.

    The install is currently being overhauled, the user won't have to interact at all and it fixes most issues also.

    • Tina Sieber
      October 25, 2016 at 10:36 am

      Thank you for the update, Charles! That sounds so much more convenient.

  6. Charles Milette
    September 27, 2016 at 9:37 pm

    Hey look!

    Free publicity!

    Thanks to the person who wrote this.

    • Tina Sieber
      September 28, 2016 at 11:36 am

      You're welcome. Did you develop one of the tools used above? If so, thank you for that! :)

      • Charles Milette
        September 28, 2016 at 5:13 pm

        I made SearchWithMyBrowser. Proof: http://i.imgur.com/TeIc3E3.png

        There has been an update recently that now doesn't matters if there's quotes in the path you paste

        I'm also working on automating the build and install process so that no user interaction or internet are required

        • Tina Sieber
          September 29, 2016 at 7:39 am

          That's excellent. Thank you for the update, Charles!

  7. Tom
    September 20, 2016 at 12:20 am

    Doesn't work correctly for me. I get to this point:

    "When the file path looks good, hit Enter, followed by any key to proceed. Next, Windows will ask you How do you want to open this? Choose SearchWithMyBrowser.exe and click OK."

    After hitting Enter, the Command Prompt goes away, and there is no prompt to hit any key to proceed. Windows does not ask me how I want to open anything. Tried rebooting, and it does not work. Any suggestions?

    • Tina Sieber
      September 21, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Did you enter the full file path, including SearchWithMyBrowser.exe? Not sure why else it wouldn't work, although a recent update could have "broken" the application of this hack. Once applied, it continues to work though.

  8. DaveThePerson
    September 17, 2016 at 6:25 am

    I found a solution, if you do not have the option to open with SearchWithMyBrowser.exe and only see Edge and the store as options.

    Run the install again, but this time include the name of the executable. For example, if you moved the file to C:\stuff enter C:\stuff\searchwithmybrowser.exe. The option to select SWMB with then available. I clicked SWMB, and then rebooted. Following the reboot I entered a search again got the same popup when I selected a web search. Once again I selected SWMB, and then on on my default browser, Chrome opens instead of edge.

    • Tina Sieber
      September 17, 2016 at 9:55 am

      Thank you for sharing your solution, Dave!

      The "copy as path" method described in the command window will do that, i.e. include the executable in the path. I realize that my description isn't clear. Will update.

    • Mihai
      October 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks! Without you I would still need to use Edge!

  9. Roland
    September 13, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Wow, after several unsuccessful youtube tutorials and wasted lunch-brake, fairly simple and well put together solution that works perfectly. Thank you!

    • Tina Sieber
      September 16, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Thank you for your feedback, Roland! Very glad to hear this is still working for you guys.

  10. jayeffaar
    September 10, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks a million! I was avoiding using Cortana because of her bad taste in browser and search engine, but now she's actually useful!

    • Tina Sieber
      September 16, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Glad this was helpful and is still working. Thank you for your comment, Jayeffaar.

  11. Blake Holden
    September 7, 2016 at 10:57 am

    Bravo you guys! Works flawlessly except I think Cortana is plotting something diabolical. All jokes aside thank you for continuing to empower the user! Anyone know how to make cortana listen actively? ie. hey cortana show me my appointment at 4pm.... she displays and Id like to say "can you map that for me w/o have to summon her again with another "hey girl..."

    • Tina Sieber
      September 7, 2016 at 11:28 am

      Cortana does listen actively. You don't have to wait for her to respond to "Hey Cortana" before telling her what you'd like her to do. Or did I misunderstand?

      Did you try to train her to respond to something else?

  12. Joshua
    August 31, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    works perfect thank you. I am on the latest version of windows 10 and I am able to use the firefox browser with google search engine to display results.

    • Tina Sieber
      September 2, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Yay! Thank you for the feedback, Joshua.

      It's so strange that this seems to work for some and not for others. Makes me wonder what other settings are keeping this from working for some.

    • alec
      September 29, 2016 at 12:35 am

      how did you do that? my cortana uses firefox but i don't know how to make it search google instead of bing.

  13. AtlasRedux
    August 26, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Doesn't work. Windows will from now on only give you the option to use Edge or select a program for the store.
    You can not select an application outside of the store.

    • Tina Sieber
      August 26, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      I'm running the Windows 10 Insider Preview and Cortana still opens links in Chrome. At least they haven't revoked that setting (yet).

      • AtlasRedux
        August 26, 2016 at 12:32 pm

        Switched to Insider Build to test. Same thing. Just Edge and Store.
        Win 10 Pro.

        • Tina Sieber
          August 26, 2016 at 1:37 pm

          Yeah, I didn't claim the hack could still be applied -- I didn't test that. I only observed that for those who successfully applied the hack at some point (in my case prior to the AU update, and then later again to test), it still works with the latest version of the Insider Preview, which is curious.

  14. Harold Chertok
    August 19, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks so much for this info! I hated having 2 Big Data entities knowing so much about me (M$ and Google). All worked but for the 1st extension to remove Cortana (Bing2Google) and I had to use the second (Chrometana). Again, did work with the Anniversary Update on my Surface Pro 4. Cheers!

    • Tina Sieber
      August 24, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Thanks for the update, Harold! Hope this will continue to work.

  15. Martí
    August 17, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Hello and thank you for your help,

    I downloaded the zip file and pasted the path where the SearchWithMyBrowser.exe file was but I had no option to choose this program, just Edge and the Store...

    What should I do? I tried with Bing2Google having Chrome as my default browser and it didn't solve my problem, even when I restarded my computer.

    Thanks again.

    • Tina Sieber
      August 17, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      Did you paste the path and remove the "quotes"?
      Was there an error message or anything?
      You can just try again. Maybe reboot before you do.

      • Martí Rams Nadal
        August 17, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        Thanks for anwsering so fast.

        I did paste the path and removed the quotes. No error message. I already reboot my computer, did the same and same result.

        Let me check that I have understood it right: I have to copy the path where the SearchWithMyBrowser.exe file is, right? Is there anything I could have been doing wrong?

        • Tina Sieber
          August 17, 2016 at 4:45 pm

          It sounds like you did exactly the right thing. I can't think of anything else you could have missed.

        • MyselfAndI
          August 21, 2016 at 9:38 pm

          I got the same problem. Worthless guide...

        • Fognar
          August 21, 2016 at 11:20 pm

          Yeah I just tried it today myself and it isn't working. Maybe Microsoft snuck an update to disable this workaround.

        • Tina Sieber
          August 22, 2016 at 7:41 pm

          That's entirely possible. I'm on the latest Insider Preview and all I can say is that updates didn't break this workaround. Cortana searches still open in Chrome for me.

  16. Jonathan Stockment
    August 15, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    It was working like a charm but then Cortana stopped opening the web browser when I tried to search for stuff on the internet with her. For example, when it was working I would say "Hey Cortana, cool stuff to do with Cortana" and it would open chrome and get redirected from bing to google with the 'bing2google' addon. Now I say the same thing and it makes the little completed request noise but nothing happens.

    • Tina Sieber
      August 16, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Cortana isn't very reliable. Is it only the browser search that's broken or has she also stopped working otherwise? If the latter, I'd recommend retraining her. If it's only the browser search, maybe try to re-apply the tweak?

      Please let us know if you figure out a fix. Thank you!

  17. Skye
    August 14, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Just got it working myself. Anniversary update of Windows 10 Home. Had to reboot before Cortana would ask me which program to use, but now she's routing to Chrome just fine. Thanks!

    • Tina Sieber
      August 16, 2016 at 10:04 am

      Excellent! The power of reboots...I should update the article. :)

  18. Gigi
    August 13, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Yessssss! Thank you so much for this post! I have wanted something like this since the upgade defaulted to microsoft edge. At first the directions didn't work for me but with a restart it's smooth sailing! I like having control over what I use. This is great!!

    • Tina Sieber
      August 14, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Glad it worked for you and thank you for the comment, Gigi! Good to know that a simple reboot can still do little wonders. :)

  19. Rio
    August 8, 2016 at 2:03 am

    just. WOWW Thank you. This guide even works on Anniversary update. as of today (8/8/16) it still works.
    just open build wait until it's done, then install, when it asks the path, go to the folder, right click the SearchWithMyBrowser.exe and make sure use the Shift button, copy as path. paste it into the command prompt, remove the quote. restart, try to use cortana, and walaaaa.. it works for mehh
    Thank you

    • Tina Sieber
      August 8, 2016 at 6:05 am

      Thank you for your feedback, Rio! It's reassuring to hear that this tweak is still working on the Anniversary Update for non-Insiders.

  20. Harry S
    August 6, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    I tried this, and after moving the searchwithmybrowser.exe file, and doing the 'copy as path' thing and removing the quotes, I selected to use that exe in the popup, and then when I searched something in cortana, it still used edge

    • Tina Sieber
      August 8, 2016 at 6:02 am

      Sorry it's not working for you, Harry. Another reader just commented that it's still working on the Anniversary Update and that's what I see too.

      Note that the Anniversary Update may have reset your default browser to Microsoft Edge. Please double-check under Settings (Windows key + I) > System > Default apps > Web browser.

      That said, you're not alone. At least one other reader has the same issue and they write that their default browser is Chrome. Not sure how to verify or troubleshoot this issue since I can't reproduce it.

      If you find a solution, please do share it with us. Thank you in advance!

    • Tina Sieber
      August 8, 2016 at 6:05 am

      One more question: Do you use the Home or Professional version of Windows 10?

    • Passerby
      August 11, 2016 at 6:30 pm

      I also had the same problem as you, but it started to work after I restarted my computer once. It works perfectly now. FYI. I have the Anniversary Update, so I think it should work regardless of windows 10 version.

      • Tina Sieber
        August 12, 2016 at 9:44 am

        Thank you for your comment, Passerby! How could I forget about rebooting!? It's the number one fix, especially for unexplained issues. :)

  21. dali
    August 4, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    is this still working with the windows 10 anniversary version?
    thanks :)

    • Tina Sieber
      August 5, 2016 at 8:34 am

      Yes it does! The article was written on the Insider Preview and I just tested it on the latest release. Definitely still working.

      • ShizzleMcfly
        August 6, 2016 at 8:50 pm

        I can't seem to get it to work... Followed all instructions, when I run the install script I get the popup, I pick searchwithmybrowser.exe but when I search something with Cortana afterwards it still opens everything in Edge. My default browser is set to Chrome.

        • Tina Sieber
          August 8, 2016 at 6:04 am

          Thank you for your comment!

          Some readers comment it still works (and I can confirm that), others write it doesn't.

          You write that Chrome is your default browser. Just to be safe: Are you sure that the Anniversary Update didn't reset your default browser to Microsoft Edge? Please double-check under Settings (Windows key + I) > System > Default apps > Web browser.

          Other than that I'm at my wit's end. I can't think of a reason why this would behave differently for users on the same version of Windows 10. This may be far-fetched, but do you use Windows 10 Home or Professional?

          If you do find a solution to this, please do share it with us. Thank you very much in advance!

  22. Austin
    July 31, 2016 at 5:06 am

    When I run the "Install" file and run the executable, the "How do you want to open this?" menu does not show up. Instead a broken "You'll need a new app to open this microsoft-edge" thing appears and the ok button is greyed out. There is no way to remove it. I have to restart my PC to remove it.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 31, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Hm, it's possible that a recent upgrade broke this method.

      Just to make sure, did you enter the right file path?

  23. Brett Boj
    July 10, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Or you can download the web search app from the Microsoft web store and installand activate Cortana by saying "Hey Cortana web search Google and your search subject and the results are in your default browser and this works for BIng,Yahoo, Googlel

    • Tina Sieber
      July 11, 2016 at 11:05 pm

      The app is $1.10 for anyone interested in trying. The method described in this article is free.

  24. Sugi
    July 8, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    Microsoft should really allow this choice to be easier. Personally, I used both Edge and Bing, so it isn't much of a big deal, but the real issue here is giving the consumers the power of choice. Some people prefer different engines and browsers, even if it does lead to immense drawbacks.

    • Tina Sieber
      July 9, 2016 at 2:58 am

      My word.

      They could also make it easier for other browsers and search engines to plug into Cortana. Of course they have no (financial) interest in doing that.

  25. Krishna Sundar
    July 8, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    This is an amazing tip for all the users (like me), who like to have control on which browser I'd like to use and which search engine I choose to use

    Thanks a ton to MakeUseOf and charlesmilette for this post !

    • Tina Sieber
      July 9, 2016 at 3:00 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Krishna.

      Note that this only affects Cortana search results. Windows 10 generally uses your default browser for everything else (except when it sets Edge as the default browser when you upgrade...).

      • Krishna Sundar
        July 9, 2016 at 4:26 am

        Yes. Cortana was the only problem. Though my default browser was set to Chrome, it was still using Edge to launch the results !

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