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Microsoft thought of the children and decided to ban some browsers

Redmond's Family Settings now block browsers-without-filters by default, but which ones?

By Darren Pauli, 5 Sep 2016

Microsoft has updated its family filters to block some rival browsers and says it's done so to think of the children.

The changes are part of its bid to end the compatibility clashes caused when non-Microsoft browser barons push updates, breaking the restrictive Windows 10 family settings.

The Reg understands that clashes allowed Chrome, Firefox, and others to access blocked sites. But Microsoft's not named the browsers kids won't be able to run any more, saying only that "Most commonly used browsers don't have web filtering. To keep your children safer, we'll automatically block these browsers on their devices."

Microsoft previously recommended parents make the Internet even more miserable by blocking the world's most popular browser and grounding their kids to Redmond's IE and Edge offerings.

Now the punishment is automatic, Microsoft says in a change notice. The ban's not irrevocable: parents willing to confront Windows' Family settings can whitelist browsers other than Redmonds'.

A handful of family filter bypasses of questionable effectiveness have surfaced in previous months, but all appear to have been crushed by Redmond's latest update.

The latest fix and all subsequent patches may be of fleeting relief for parents of primary (elementary) school kids like Jake Sethi Reiner who took to a recent hacker con to discuss 'threat modelling for 11 year olds' in which he broke his dev dad's attempts to control his internet access and cloud server.

The cynically-minded could be tempted to suggest this new browser block is part of Redmond's efforts to get users onto Edge, its latest browser. Last month it bribe offered Americans one free terrible coffee a month for using the browser and allowing their keystrokes to be monitored.

Yet even with free Starbucks up for grabs, Google's Chrome is the uncontested champion of the web browsing war with some 51.04 per cent of the market according to analyst outfit NetMarketShare. The service places Microsoft's Internet Explorer in second with 21.76 per cent, Safari with 11.12, Firefox with six percent and the recently-released Edge lagging at 3.91 per cent. ®

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