Microsoft is bringing improvements to default apps settings in Windows 11. These changes will make it easier to control which apps are pinned to the taskbar, desktop and start menu.
The software giant claims these changes are part of a “principled approach” to app behaviors that will aim to give users more control over their computers. This will also reduce the likelihood of unrequested modifications being made to Windows, which could come from adware or bloatware applications.
Default Apps Settings Deep Link URI
Microsoft is set to bring improvement to Default Apps Settings with two new features in Windows 11. The first is a deep link URI (ms-settings) that will take users directly to the appropriate location in Settings to change their defaults.
The second is a new API that will let apps pin either primary or secondary tiles to the Taskbar. This will always invoke a trusted Windows user experience to clarify what is being requested and to confirm that the user indeed wants to allow the pin.
A deep link is a type of URL that sends users straight to specific in-app locations, significantly improving the user experience and reducing churn. These links are usually specified in a custom URI scheme (iOS Universal Links) or an intent URL (on Android devices) that opens your app if it’s already installed.
In addition, deep links can also be used to send users to events or pages that tie into campaigns. This is especially useful for app retargeting.
When implementing deep links, you must make sure they are not being used to redirect users to malicious third parties. You can control this by limiting redirection to specific web domains with a Redirect Allowlist.
Default Apps Settings Public API
Microsoft is bringing improvements to Default Apps Settings and the API for pinning apps to the taskbar. These changes are designed to improve user experiences and increase consistency across Windows.
The Public API for Default Apps Settings helps developers access and configure the default application setting for files and protocols. It also lets you set a package file size limit on applications.
To use the Public API for Default Apps Settings, you must register your application with the feature. This is similar to how you registered an application for use with Set Program Access and Computer Defaults (SPAD) in Windows XP.
Once registered, your application appears in the UI for Default Programs, where it can be chosen as the default for standard file types and protocols. This UI is available from Control Panel or directly from the Start menu.
When a user chooses to reclaim a default, a unique UI is presented that asks whether the user wants to reclaim it. The UI should include a check box and an option not to reclaim it again.
If the user clicks Yes, the Default settings are changed for that user and that user’s other applications. The Default settings are then saved to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE subtree on a per-user basis. This ensures that if a user later tries to restore all application defaults, the default setting will be restored for that user only.
Default Apps Settings Pinning
Microsoft is bringing improvements to the Default Apps Settings of Windows 11. These updates will help users and developers gain more control over which apps are pinned to the Start menu on the desktop, taskbar, or both.
First, the company will introduce a new deep link URI scheme for applications that can take users to the right spot in Settings to change their defaults. It’s an extension of the existing ms-settings: URI scheme, which is used to launch preferences and pages.
Then, the company is also working on a new API that allows apps to pin either primary or secondary tiles to the Taskbar. When an app requests pinning, the user will receive a system toast notification that includes an Accept or Decline button.
These changes are a part of the ongoing effort to deliver a better Windows experience. The company has been listening to its customers and making improvements to the operating system’s interface, as well as improving features like default browsers and app pinning.
In the coming months, the company is planning to roll out these changes to the Windows Insider program and eventually to the public. Hopefully, this will lead to a more open Windows experience.