Simple Technique For Fixing Or Resetting Broken File Associations In Windows Vista

In Windows Vista (or any Windows OS), it is very important that the file associations work properly so that a file with a particular extension opens correctly with the help of the respective program associated with it. However, sometimes these file associations break or get corrupt thereby affecting the opening of some types of files.

The file associations might get corrupt or break due to third-party programs which might wrongly associate file extensions such as .com, .lnk, .sys, .exe, folder, drive, directory etc. with a program which actually does not support that particular extension. Basically, these are system file extensions which have unique associations to certain programs as defined by Windows.

Lavasoft Ad-Aware SE is one such program that causes issues with file associations in Vista. In this program, the option for locking executable file associations is enabled through automatic setting. This generally prevents any kind of registry changes pertaining to file association when new software applications are installed.

Another tricky application that creates problems with file associations is dTools which tends to delete associated default programs and icons for extensions such as .sys, .rll, .scr, .exe, .pko, .ocx, .pif, .xmp, .tpl, .wsp, .wmdb, etc.
Sometimes it so happens that the user assigns or associates an extension to an incorrect program (for e.g. a shortcut with .lnk) and forgets to deselect the option that enables a file type to open using the associated program.

Anytime the file association related to a particular file extension is not found or gets deleted, the file icon looks blank, just like an empty white paper. The moment you try to open such kind of file by double-clicking on it, you will be prompted with a dialog box having the title “Open With” asking you to choose a program with which you wish to launch the file.

Moreover, it really becomes pretty troublesome and annoying if the file association related to the file extension .exe is corrupt or broken as it causes problems with launching or running programs such as Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office Word, Powerpoint, Excel, System Restore, Notepad, Adobe Reader etc.

The problem with file association for the extension .exe also causes issues with the execution of Registry Editor Tool which is most essential for resolving the improper file association issue. Windows Vista does not allow you to reset or resolve the improper/ broken file associations back to default/ workable state by using the file extension management interface “Set Association”.

You may still resolve the issue by manually removing user-choice file association from the system registry and restore the default file association back in Windows Vista. However, if this trick doesn’t work or if you wish to use a simpler and more effective method to resolve the invalid file extension association issue, you may use the below mentioned technique.

You need to go to and download the registry files that help you to reset or fix the various common file associations back to their default state in Windows Vista as configured at the time of first installation. The website contains registry files to fix the file associations for the extensions mentioned below:


These registry files are available in a ZIP format which needs to be downloaded and unzipped to obtain the .reg file. You need to then execute this registration entries file and merge it to replace the existing registry keys and their values so as to fix the issue related to invalid file associations.

In order to apply .reg file to the existing registry, just right-click on .reg file and choose the option “Run as Administrator”. This will replace the existing registry with the new registry keys.

You may download the compressed zip file which includes registry files to fix file associations for all the extensions listed above incase you need to fix all of them.