How to Use Mozilla Firefox Metro Version in Windows 8? Fix Metro App Launching Desktop Version

Recently we told you about new Mozilla Firefox Nightly build which comes with a special Metro version designed for Microsoft's latest OS Windows 8. This new Metro version works only at Start Screen and launches a chromeless browser window similar to Metro IE.


But many AskVG readers have reported that they can't use the Metro version of Firefox in Windows 8. Whenever they click on Nightly tile on Start Screen, it launches the Desktop version of Firefox instead of new Metro version.

Although we didn't face any problem in testing Firefox Metro version but we tried to investigate and found that its a similar problem as we posted a few months back related to Metro IE. If Internet Explorer is not set as default browser, its tile at Start Screen disappears or stops working. Check out this link for more info.

Same principle applies to Firefox. If Firefox is not set as default browser app to open http links, you'll not be able to access its Metro version. So you'll need to set Firefox as default web browser for Desktop as well as Start Screen using this tutorial.

One can easily find whether the Nightly tile present at Start Screen will open Metro version or Desktop version by only looking at its icon. If Nightly is set to open Metro version, its icon will look like following:


In the above screenshot Nightly is set as default browser app.

And if Nightly is not set as default browser and it'll open Desktop version, then its icon will look like following:


If you can't enjoy Firefox Metro version in Windows 8, simply follow these simple steps to set it as default browser app and your problem will be fixed:

1. If you are on Start Screen, type default and Windows will show "Default Programs" in search results page. Click on it to open Default Programs window.

Alternatively, you can open it from Control Panel.

2. Now click on "Set your default programs" link given at the top.

3. Now select Nightly from the given list and click on "Set this program as default" option.


4. As soon as you click on the option, Windows will show a notification asking you to select the default browser for opening http links. Actually its a notification for default browser app for Start Screen.


Select Nightly from the given list of browser.

5. That's it. Now you can enjoy Firefox Metro version without any problem.

PS: If you don't get the Metro app notification mentioned in step 4, open Internet Explorer and set it as default browser. Now Windows will show the app notification and you can select Nightly as default browser app.


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Posted in: Mozilla Firefox, Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Use metro "Chrome" version. It at least have flash support and is simpler to use.

  • The reason why you must set the default browser as Firefox in order for the Metro version to function is because Microsoft is only letting one type of browser work in the Metro Start Screen, aiming to promote IE10 (even though only stupid people use it).

    Perhaps that could be added to the article.

  • Is it possible to do this without setting Nightly as your default browser?

  • @Someone

    Can you read other comments before posting? macpro622776 already answered to your question.

  • Excellent guide. I was facing the same problem and Google brought me here. Your solution worked for me. Thanks.

  • Right now Firefox Metro only works with the 32 bit version. So download the 32bit Nightly version instead of 64bit and you should see it.

  • Put | "C:\Program Files\Nightly\firefox.exe" -metrodesktop
    in NIghtly's Shortcut in Properties > Target

  • Hey guys, does any of you know how to change the settings on Nightly? like e.g. to change the "downloads" folder. Right now is sending all my downloads into a folder that's very difficult to access.


  • Nightly 'Touch' version works fine except it won't load after it has been running for about an hour. Resetting Nightly resolves this issue to begin with but the problem soon returns. Closing & restarting Nightly or even rebooting doesn't resolve the issue, only 'resetting' but get in the same loop after a while.

    Most strange as other BBC pages load ok in 'Touch' version, e.g.

    Anyone got any ideas how to resolve?

  • it doesnt work its still opening in desktop

  • Please Note: mozilla says under 1000 people we're using it so they removed it. ( I highly doubt this though)

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