How can I reveal my current default browser under XP?

I know how to change my default browser, but what I want to know is how to display/reveal exactly what my default browser is currently and ideally it’s path.

The first time I launch Firefox each day, it pops up and says it isn’t my default browser and asks if I would like to change it to Firefox. One would think the only other choice would be IE (as it is the only other browser installed on my system, even though I never use it), but it doesn’t appear to be set to IE, either!

I’ve tried going into control panel -> Add or Remove Programs -> Set Program Access and Defaults, but it doesn’t really say what the current default is. All it gives are two radio buttons: “Use my current web browser” (which is on) or “Use Internet Explorer” (which is off).

Any ideas on how to find the information I’m looking for? I’m an experienced user, so looking through the registry presents no problem for me.

The command line for the default browser should be in the default value of HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\command.

IE has a options menu that can be marked to always check if it’s the default browser. Firefox has the option too. starting either program will make it your default when this happens. Turn off the option in both and the default will stay at whatever you assign the .html or .shtml to open with. There is a hard way and an easier way to change the opening application for the average user. I will not mention the harder way.

Create a text file on the desktop. Call Junk.txt and change the name to Junk.html You can now see by the icon displayed which program is the default. To set the default application do the following. Right click the Junk.html file and choose “open with” and click “choose program”. A dialog box opens. You need to choose “Firefox” and then mark the box “Always use the selected program to open this type of file”. Click OK to finish the operation and now the default is Firefox. You need to change the file to the name Junk.shtml and do the same for that file extension. Fire fox will now be default for those two extensions. You can delete the Junk file from the desk top. Firefox will say it couldn’t open the file when you used Junk.html and Junk.shtml to set the default browser, but that doesn’t matter, the default application for the file extensions will be changed.


That allowed me to identify the problem. You see, I have a second, separate installation / profile of Firefox on a removable drive whose path had been inserted at that key, which meant that when I ran the original installation, it reported it wasn’t the default any longer.

Thank you for your reply, Harmonious Discord. It wasn’t IE that had been taking control, it was a separate installation of Firefox.

The icons could not tell me what I wanted to know because they were all showing a blank icon.