Windows Vista – Easy Techniques For Changing File Type Associations

File type associations in Windows Vista and other Windows operating systems determine the program in which a file/ document would be launched and the command which would be activated to run the file whenever your double-click on the file icon.

Windows associates most file types, extensions and protocols with appropriate programs with the help of different Windows utilities and built-in tools by default. For e.g. HTTP protocol is associated with Internet Explorer, .txt with Notepad and .jpg file type with the application “Windows Photo Gallery”.

As compared to Windows XP, Windows Vista has a different procedure for file association and does not posses a tab “File Types“within the “Folder Options” dialog box.

In case you wish to make changes to the file association for a particular file type to associate it with another program that does not automatically register the file associations supported by it or if you need to restore or revert the file associations that have been captured by some freshly installed programs, you can change file associations manually.

Process 1: Use the option “File Properties” to Change File Type Associations

  1. Right-click on the file with the type/extension for which you want to change the associated program.
  2. From the context menu that appears, select the option “Properties”.
  3. Within the tab “General”, click on the button “Change”.
  4. You will see a window with the title “Open With”. Choose a program from the list which you wish to associate with the particular file type. By default, the list of “Recommended Programs” will be automatically expanded.
    However, you will also find some more programs listed in the section “Other Programs”. You may expand it by clicking on the Down Arrow that follows the separator line.
    In case you are still unable to find the program of your choice, click on the button “Browse” to manually choose an executable file.
  5. Now, click on “OK” button.

Process 2: Change File Associations On-The-Fly

Keep in mind that this method will work only if you have previously used a number of different programs to open/ run a particular file type/ extension.

  1. Right-click on the file with the type/extension for which you want to change the associated program.
  2. From the context menu, just point on the option “Open With” and click on “Choose Default Program”.
  3. A window with the title “Open With” will be displayed. You need to choose the desired program listed under “Recommended Programs” list which will be expanded by default.
    You may choose other detected programs by expanding the “Other Programs” section by clicking on the Down Arrow that follows the separator line.
    Incase you still cannot find the program of your choice, click on the button “Browse” to manually choose an executable file.
  4. Tick the checkbox corresponding to the option that enables the particular type of file/extension to be opened/run using the selected program at all times.
  5. Click on “OK” button. Now that the file association is set, the file/ document will open using the newly selected default program automatically.

Process 3: Use “Set Associations” to Assign or Create New File Associations

  1. Go to Control Panel and open “Programs”. Click on the option that makes the file type to open using a specific program always.
    Users who use a classic view can go to “Default Programs” and click on the option that allows you to associate a file type/ protocol with an appropriate program.
  2. Now, in the folder “Set Associations”, find and highlight the file type (for which you wish to change the associated program) and click on the button “Change Program”.
  3. A window with the title “Open With” will appear. You need to choose the desired program listed under “Recommended Programs” list which is expanded by default.
    You will also find some more programs listed in the section “Other Programs”. You may expand it by clicking on the Down Arrow that follows the separator line.
  4. Incase you still cannot find a preferred program, click on the button “Browse” to manually choose an executable file
  5. Finally, Click on “OK” button.

Process 4: Use Third Party Program

In Windows Vista, the three built-in methods for changing or setting file associations as mentioned above can only be used to change or set default programs to open/ run a particular file type, extension or protocol.

However, if you want to associate or assign different programs to the various context menu options for a particular file type/ extension, you need to use third-party file association management utilities/ tools.

Related: Remove file association in Windows 7.

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