Any way to launch the default browser from the command line?


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Suppose if I set different or even multiple home pages for Firefox, IE, Chrome, Opera and Safari. Now if I set any one of those as the default browser, is there a way to open the default browser from the command line/run/script/batch file/powershell? There's one key here: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\http\shell\open\command but that appends "-nohome" to IE if I return that value in a script.

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This is sort of cheating.. but, if you open up your Start Menu and drag the "Internet" shortcut from the top of the list out to the desktop, you then have an "Internet - Shortcut.lnk" file on your desktop. Just have your program call upon this shortcut.

This shortcut will update itself if the default browser on the system changes.

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That shortcut is only there up to Vista. I'm on Windows 7. And start <URL> launches that specific URL. If I've set different homepages for each browser, it's not of use to me.

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I haven't tested it on 7 yet, but in Vista the default browser is stored here: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet]. Just read in the Default string and then you should be able to just start that browser.

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In Powershell

$registrykey = [Microsoft.Win32.Registry.ClassesRoot]::OpenSubKey("htmlfile\shell\open\command", $false)
[string] $browserpath = $registrykey.GetValue("", "").Split('"')[1]
[System.Diagnostics.Process]::Start($browserpath)

Just save it as a function and call it. You could also use the command in "http\shell\open\command". Just replace "htmlfile\..." with "http\..." and run.

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Enter this on command line : start <some address>

such as start www.neowin.net

this works only if you place http:// in front of the address, otherwise windows says it can not locate the file!

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None works. There are some classic VB examples here, some VB.NET examples here and some C# examples here but I'm not a dev. I don't want to launch a specific URL. I want to launch the default browser's set homepage whatever that may be.

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The HKCU\Software\Clients\StartMenuInternet key is deprecated in Windows 7. While it exists, it may not be set by browsers in the future. Plus Chrome doesn't work as it puts a value of "Google Chrome" there instead of Chrome.exe. Also Opera doesn't work as Opera's app path isn't registered by default.

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