Process.Start(url) broken on Windows 8/Chrome – are there alternatives?

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Problem :

To open a URL from a .NET application, many sites (including on StackOverflow) cite this example:


On Windows 8, this works if Internet Explorer is the default browser. However if Google Chrome is the default, it fails with:

Unhandled Exception: System.ComponentModel.Win32Exception: Class not registered

Does this suggest that this method is no longer the right way to open URL’s on Windows? What alternatives exist? Is it safer to just launch Internet Explorer directly?

Solution :

You may try to specify the Process filename “explorer.exe” explicitly, like suggested in the following thread:

var startInfo = new ProcessStartInfo("explorer.exe", url);

Use the Launcher object to open URLs.


await Launcher.LaunchUriAsync(new Uri(""));

I’ve tried many a solution but as i’m in a UI project (wpf or winform) I ended up using an embedded browser control. Calling navigate, setting the url then target to “_blank” launches an external browser window.

_webBrowser.Navigate(uri, "_blank");

Hope this helps.

The only robust solution I’ve found to this problem is described here:

Basically, you need to look through the Windows registry to find what the selected default browser is, and launch that directly as the process with the URL as the argument.

VB.Net alternative:

    Public Sub URLOpen(Url As String)

       Dim OpenURL As New ProcessStartInfo With {
        .UseShellExecute = True,
        .FileName = "explorer.exe",
        .Arguments = Url


    End Sub

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