Outside of Microsoft Edge, from a privacy and security standpoint, should I use the default apps (Windows Media Player, Photos, Calculator…) instead of third party (preferably FOSS) alternatives?
Can make an argument for both of options honestly. On one hand you’re already trusting Microsoft just by using Windows and you don’t have to increase that trust to other parties. On the other hand, minimizing the presence of Microsoft is never a bad idea.
Calculators are fine, photos are also fine, windows media player is crap with not a lot of codecs though. Just use VLC for that
The main one I wouldn’t use is Microsoft Outlook:
Yeah, there is no way I’m using Outlook.
Basically what was already said, avoid outlook, for the rest either or is fine, but wanted to add that for security apps like firewalls, antivirus, etc, stick to the default Microsoft ones, any other just increase your attack surface (yes, even the FOSS alternatives) with little to no added benefit.
If you really want to avoid it default apps, there are lots of FOSS options out there with varying mileage. I use ImageGlass as the default photo viewer, VLC for video, Thunderbird for mail, multiple other web browser, GIMP for basic photo editing, and KdenLive or OpenShot for basic video editing, and Notepad++ for basic text viewing and editing. I also second using the default Windows Defender and whatnot - third party anti virus isn’t worth it.
I’d say you’d get more bang for your buck in privacy and disabling telemetry at the OS level though, and as others said don’t use outlook.
Hard to answer the question when we don’t know your intent. Just a college student doing research for a term paper? Probably doesn’t matter. There are things known as the industry standard for a reason.
I already disabled all telemetry I could find using group policies on W11 Enterprise.
Many people claim that Edge is secure and doesn’t have the security problems that Mozilla code has but when it crashes it will also crash “Windows Explorer” so I’d avoid using it even if it was secure.