Normally, Google Chrome Canary cannot be set to be the system's default browser - it shows the following message in its settings:

This is a secondary installation of Google Chrome, and cannot be made your default browser.

They have good reasons, but nevertheless I want to use it as my default. How can I set Google Chrome Canary as the default browser on Windows 8?

I found numerous solutions online about previous Windows versions, all revolving around editing the registry, and unfortunately none of them were able to solve this for me.

  • Is there a developmental need to set it as default? Or you want canary to open when you click on hyperlinks?
    – meguroyama
    Sep 19, 2013 at 7:47
  • @meguroyama the latter.
    – Oak
    Sep 19, 2013 at 7:54
  • Try going into the system's default programs settings and configuring Chrome Canary to open HTTP links by default.
    – gparyani
    Sep 20, 2013 at 19:50

4 Answers 4


Replace YourUsernameHere with your user name. After that copy and paste the below into a text file and save it as canary.reg. then double click the file.

This will only work if you have administrative privileges on your computer. If you are doing this on a computer without admin, you can use the same setup, replacing HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE with HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software and replacing ChromeSxSHTML with ChromeSxSHTML with the key you can find in Regedit in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\ - You'll see one named ChromeSSHTML.<some random string here>. Copy this and replace ChromeSxSHTML with it.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"URL Protocol"=""
@="Google Chrome Canary HTML Document"
@="C:\\Users\\YourUsernameHere\\AppData\\Local\\Google\\Chrome SxS\\Application\\chrome.exe,4"
@="\"C:\\Users\\YourUsernameHere\\AppData\\Local\\Google\\Chrome SxS\\Application\\chrome.exe\" -- \"%1\""
@="Google Chrome Canary URL"
"FriendlyTypeName"="Google Chrome Canary URL"
"URL Protocol"=""
@="C:\\Users\\YourUsernameHere\\AppData\\Local\\Google\\Chrome SxS\\Application\\chrome.exe,4"
@="\"C:\\Users\\YourUsernameHere\\AppData\\Local\\Google\\Chrome SxS\\Application\\chrome.exe\" -- \"%1\""
@="Google Chrome Canary"
"Content Type"="text/html"
"Content Type"="text/html"
  • Thanks for sharing. How do i undo it?
    – user44712
    Jan 7, 2015 at 6:55
  • Came across your post - unfortunately doesn't seem to work anymore with the latest version of chrome canary on windows 7
    – Tom
    Jan 22, 2015 at 8:45
  • This one works for me. techdows.com/2012/05/…
    – attomos
    Oct 27, 2015 at 2:27

Control Panel > Default Programs > Set your default programs. Click on Google Chrome Canary and select "Set this program as default".

  • 6
    It doesn't appear in the list of programs to choose from and there's no way to browse to add more programs.
    – Mike Hall
    Jan 31, 2014 at 4:55
  • 4
    I confirm this works on Windows 8.1. Not sure about other Windows versions.
    – Ngoc Pham
    Jun 12, 2014 at 4:40
  • 5
    It's not working on windows 7
    – Gelin Luo
    Jun 12, 2014 at 10:12
  • 1
    This does work on Windows XP, however :/ Dec 23, 2014 at 19:57
  • 1
    Can confirm it works on Windows 7 64-bit Jun 18, 2015 at 9:07

Not answering the original question, but for people like me who might stumble upon this page when searching, the way to do it on OS X Yosemite (10.10) and up is in System Preferences -> General. Before it was in Safari's setting but now it's no longer the case.

  • You could create a new question for OS X Yosemite (10.10) and answer it yourself. Also, you could link that question to this one. But, adding an answer for another question is a wrong approach
    – Arashsoft
    May 2, 2016 at 16:08

On Windows 10:

Settings ➡ System ➡ Default apps ➡ Set defaults by app

Chrome Canary should appear in the list.

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