How can I set Google Chrome as the default browser? If I set it in the browser settings, nothing happens. The browser says it's default, but in preferred applications in Gnome, there's only Firefox to choose from. Clicking any link i.e in Thunderbird opens a blank Firefox window, not with the link embedded. Can I set the default browser in dconf2 or any configuration file?

  • 4
    Have you tried setting the default browser via System Info->Default Applications->Web? Jan 17, 2012 at 3:34

7 Answers 7


Assuming you are using Unity, click on the dash button in the launcher and search for 'System info'. Then, open 'System info' and move to 'Default applications' section. Then, click on the dropdown list next to Web. There, select 'Google Chrome' and it will be selected as the default web browser for your system.

enter image description here

  • 4
    Oh well! I was looking for this myself! They really got away with hiding and removing settings in this Ubuntu version, I thought Default Applications was removed! In Gnome Shell you can access it through System Settings > System Info > Default Applications.
    – Severo Raz
    Jan 17, 2012 at 22:38
  • 3
    why is chrome not in the list for me ?
    – Ced
    Nov 15, 2015 at 23:14
  • 3
    I have this, still Firefox opens as default.
    – Bugs Buggy
    Apr 13, 2019 at 8:09

You should have in the ~/.config/mimeapps.list file the following lines:


Make sure these lines are under either the [Default Applications] or [Added Associations] section.

And of course, you need google-chrome installed such that google-chrome.desktop is either located at /usr/share/applications/, /usr/local/share/applications/ or ~/.local/share/applications/.

  • Thanks! In Gnome settings Firefox was declared to be my browser of choice (as I wanted), but only after fixing this file Firefox really became my default browser. Feb 17, 2021 at 15:37

Alternatively, you can do the following instead of editing mimeapps.list:

xdg-mime default google-chrome.desktop text/html
xdg-mime default google-chrome.desktop x-scheme-handler/http
xdg-mime default google-chrome.desktop x-scheme-handler/https
xdg-mime default google-chrome.desktop x-scheme-handler/about

To check the current settings, you can use:

xdg-mime query default text/html
xdg-mime query default x-scheme-handler/http
xdg-mime query default x-scheme-handler/https
xdg-mime query default x-scheme-handler/about
  • Thank! Setting these to exo-web-browser.desktop helped me a lot. Nov 26, 2014 at 19:41
  • 1
    Works for applications that are not available in the drop-down list of the settings dialog
    – vitaly
    Sep 12, 2015 at 2:51
  • this works when I click on a url in a terminal or within vim/mutt Aug 17, 2019 at 10:09
  • 1
    Does not work: xdg-mime default chromium.desktop text/html, xdg-mime query default text/html -> firefox.desktop
    – Timo
    Mar 9, 2021 at 19:35

There are a number of places an application might figure out which browser to launch and unfortunately there is no established standard. If the other answers don't work for you (as was the case for me with Skype) you could try:

  • the $BROWSER environment variable
  • /usr/bin/x-www-browser, which is configured via the alternatives mechanism: sudo update-alternatives --config x-www-browser (which is what Skype is launching it seems)
  • I have the following when I enter this command. Any idea what the difference between "auto mode" and "manual mode" is? There are 2 choices for the alternative x-www-browser (providing /usr/bin/x-www-browser). Selection Path Priority Status ------------------------------------------------------------ * 0 /usr/bin/google-chrome-stable 200 auto mode 1 /usr/bin/firefox 40 manual mode 2 /usr/bin/google-chrome-stable 200 manual mode
    – flickerfly
    May 2, 2014 at 16:58
  • 1
    From the manpage: Each link group is, at any given time, in one of two modes: automatic or manual. When a group is in automatic mode, the alternatives system will automatically decide, as packages are installed and removed, whether and how to update the links. In manual mode, the alternatives system will retain the choice of the administrator and avoid changing the links (except when something is broken).
    – kynan
    May 2, 2014 at 18:07
  • how to change $BROWSER?
    – Timo
    Mar 9, 2021 at 19:34
  • In your current shell, you can export BROWSER=/path/to/browser. If you want to persist this change, add it to e.g. ~/.profile.
    – kynan
    Mar 10, 2021 at 23:56

There are also the /etc/alternatives/ where you have links:

  • gnome-www-browser ->
  • x-www-browser ->

In my case Lotus Notes opened wrong browser using the link gnome-www-browser.


In Ubuntu 18.04 and later select Settings -> Details -> Default Applications.

enter image description here


For Kubuntu 20.04 with Plasma, you can do the following:

  1. Open the "Application Launcher"
  2. Type "Default Applications" into the searchbox
  3. You should see a system settings module with a star as an icon. It should actually says "Default Applications". Select it and open it
  4. Select the option "Web Browser" and from there just choose "Google Chrome" as the default app for opening http and https URLs
  5. Click "Apply" in order to save the settings

See the preview at the following screenshot of the default applications utility.

Alternatively, you can do this from the "System Settings > Applications (under Personalization) > Default Applications"

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