Thursday, September 3, 2009

Browser Chooser makes the default browser flexible

Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome ... when we have so many browsers to choose from, why stick to only one? I use at least 3 browsers to surf the web, but Windows allow us to keep only one as default. So if you have a web page saved on your hard disk and try to open it, or click a URL on a PDF file the page will always open in the browser you have assigned as default.

Browser Chooser is a new application that gives you the flexibility of choosing your default browser on-the-fly. Instead of opening a URL in the default browser, we get a ballot screen with icons of all browsers you have installed on your system. You can then pick the browser you would like to open the particular URL in. You can choose to pick Internet Explorer one time and Firefox the next. You don’t get tied down to only one default browser.


To use Browser Chooser, you have to first manually add all browsers you would like the ballot screen to show. I would have liked if it did this automatically, but manual configuration gives me more control, so it’s better this way. It’s rather odd, though, that the developer chose to use only 4 slots. You cannot add more than 4 browsers to the ballot screen.


After you have added all the browsers, click on the “Miscellaneous” tab and then click the “Make default browser” button to make Browser Chooser the default browser. So when you click on a URL you open Browser Chooser instead of the default browser, giving you the flexibility of choosing whichever browser you want to use for the session. Very clever tool.


  1. Is there a winxp software to change default browsers on the fly e.g. ie for office and opera / firefox for home?

  2. Hi, I'm the developer of Browser Chooser and would like to thank you for writing this article! Had no idea the app would get publicity so soon. It's early days in development so there'll be lots of improvements. Automatic browser detection and more flexibility in the number of browsers to choose from will be forthcoming. Keep an eye on the site and thanks again for the write-up!

  3. @Anonynomous: Browser Chooser works for Win XP too, although you won't get the transparent look as shown in the screenshot.

    @Jan Ole Peek: Great application. I have one suggestion - increase the 4 browser limit.

  4. Cool tool for selecting a browser on the fly.
    I have coded a ruby script which chooses a browser based on the host part of the uri which is what I needed. The default browser needs to be set to this ruby script or a batch file which runs this script. No UI, however works OK for my purpose! Pasting it below in case someone want to tweak the same.
    require 'uri'

    class ChooseBrowser
    #attr_accessor :ie_maps, :ff_maps, :cr_maps
    @@ie_maps = ["kotak", "icici", "hdfcfund", "airtel"]
    @@ff_maps = ["gmail", "freebookspot"]
    @@cr_maps = ["none"]
    @@browser_map =
    'ie' => 'C:/Progra~1/Intern~1/IEXPLORE.EXE',
    'firefox' => 'C:/Progra~1/Firefox/FirefoxPortable.exe',
    'chrome' => 'C:/Progra~1/GoogleChromePortableTest/GoogleChromePortable.exe',

    def usage(args)
    print "You must pass in a valid url to launch instead of <#{args[0]}>\n"
    print "Usage: runbrowser.rb target_url\n\n"

    def which_browser(url)
    return "ie" if @@ie_maps.detect{|key| /#{key}/.match(url) }
    return "firefox" if @@ff_maps.detect{|key| /#{key}/.match(url) }
    return "chrome" if @@cr_maps.detect{|key| /#{key}/.match(url) }

    #Default browser is Chrome
    return "chrome"

    def launchInBrowser(args)
    if args.empty? or (args[0] =~ URI::regexp).nil?

    # Tune url for comparison purposes
    uri = URI.parse(URI.encode(args[0].gsub("\\", "/").downcase))
    browser = which_browser(
    # print "Selected browser: #{browser} for url: #{uri}\n"

    system("start /MAX \"Running browser\" #{@@browser_map[browser]} \"#{args.join(' ')}\"")

    # Main Program starts.............


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