Posted 24 May 2016 by Brendan Kidwell

Set GNU IceCat as Default Browser in Windows 8.x

GNU IceCat doesn't include an installer for Windows, and as a result, Windows 8.0 and 8.1 won't let you choose it as your default browser. This page shows how to solve that problem.

The Registry script below assumes you extracted IceCat to C:\Programs\icecat. If you did not, you must move IceCat to that location (or you have to edit the Registry script).

If you have not already done so, you can drag icecat.exe to the Start Menu to create a regular launcher shortcut.

To tell Windows to allow you to choose IceCat as the default viewer for HTML files and HTTP/HTTPS links, save the following script to icecat_install.reg and then execute it to install the entries into your registry:

icecat_install.reg
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatHTML]
@="IceCat Document"
"FriendlyTypeName"="IceCat Document"
"EditFlags"=dword:00000002
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatHTML\DefaultIcon]
@="C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe,1"
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatHTML\shell]
@="open"
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatHTML\shell\open]
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatHTML\shell\open\command]
@="\"C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe\" -osint -url \"%1\""
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatHTML\shell\open\ddeexec]
@=""
 
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatURL]
@="IceCat URL"
"FriendlyTypeName"="IceCat URL"
"URL Protocol"=""
"EditFlags"=dword:00000002
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatURL\DefaultIcon]
@="C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe,1"
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatURL\shell]
@="open"
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatURL\shell\open]
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatURL\shell\open\command]
@="\"C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe\" -osint -url \"%1\""
 
[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\IceCatURL\shell\open\ddeexec]
@=""
 
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE]
@="IceCat"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\Capabilities]
"ApplicationDescription"="IceCat web browser."
"ApplicationIcon"="C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe,0"
"ApplicationName"="IceCat"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\Capabilities\FileAssociations]
".htm"="IceCatHTML"
".html"="IceCatHTML"
".shtml"="IceCatHTML"
".xht"="IceCatHTML"
".xhtml"="IceCatHTML"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\Capabilities\StartMenu]
"StartMenuInternet"="ICECAT.EXE"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\Capabilities\URLAssociations]
"ftp"="IceCatURL"
"http"="IceCatURL"
"https"="IceCatURL"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\DefaultIcon]
@="C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe,0"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\InstallInfo]
"HideIconsCommand"="\"C:\\Program Files\\Mozilla Firefox\\uninstall\\helper.exe\" /HideShortcuts"
"ShowIconsCommand"="\"C:\\Program Files\\Mozilla Firefox\\uninstall\\helper.exe\" /ShowShortcuts"
"ReinstallCommand"="\"C:\\Program Files\\Mozilla Firefox\\uninstall\\helper.exe\" /SetAsDefaultAppGlobal"
"IconsVisible"=dword:00000001
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\shell]
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\shell\open]
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\shell\open\command]
@="\"C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe\""
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\shell\properties]
@="IceCat &Options"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\shell\properties\command]
@="\"C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe\" -preferences"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\shell\safemode]
@="IceCat &Safe Mode"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet\ICECAT.EXE\shell\safemode\command]
@="\"C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe\" -safe-mode"
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ApplicationAssociationToasts]
"IceCatHTML_.xhtml"=dword:00000000
"IceCatURL_http"=dword:00000000
"IceCatURL_https"=dword:00000000
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AppCompatFlags\Compatibility Assistant\Store]
"C:\\Programs\\icecat\\icecat.exe"=hex:53,41,43,50,01,00,00,00,\
  00,00,00,00,07,00,00,00,28,00,00,00,c8,17,06,00,fb,81,06,00,01,00,00,00,00,\
  00,00,00,00,00,03,06,00,21,00,00,b3,95,e7,cf,04,9f,ce,01,00,00,00,01,00,00,\
  00,00
 
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\RegisteredApplications]
"IceCat"="Software\\Clients\\StartMenuInternet\\ICECAT.EXE\\Capabilities"

Now if you go to Control Panel → Default Programs → Set your default programs you should find IceCat in there, and you can make your choices now.

There is no quick way to undo all that. You can choose another default browser, but to undo all the registry changes, you'll need to delete the appropriate keys and values from the script related to IceCat.

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