Set or Change File Associations & Extensions in Windows 10/8/7

Each file in your Windows operating system has an extension in its filename, eg. .txt, .doc, etc. These extensions are used to identify the program, with which, windows can open this file. You can set or change these file associations in your Windows. In Windows XP you had this setting to change file type associations in Folder Options. In Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista you don’t see it there, though.

Change file associations

To set File Associations in Windows 10/8/7, Open Control Panel > Control Panel Home > Default Programs > Set Associations. Select a file type in the list and click Change Program.

You will be displayed a list of Programs along with a Description and the Current Default. You can click on the Change program to set or change the current defaults.

Alternatively, you can also right-click the file whose association you want to change > Properties > General tab > Type Of File > Change > Choose a program from the list or recommended or other programs or else click Browse to select one.

If you wish, you can also set, reset, change File Associations & extensions easily with this freeware.

Types is a free and lightweight configuration utility for Windows that allows you to edit program associations, icons, context menus and other properties of various file types displayed in Windows Explorer.

It is a worthwhile replacement for the inbuilt Windows file type utility.

In Windows 10, to set default apps you will have to go to Settings > Apps > Default apps. You can even choose default apps by file type or protocol and set defaults by the app.

set default apps windows 10

File association fix Windows

If you wish to fix file associations easily, you may want to check out our freeware File Association Fixer. Go here if you are unable to Change Default Program Extension on Windows. This post will help you fix broken EXE file associations.

Learn how to configure, export, import App File Associations in Windows using PC Settings and DISM Tool. This post will show you how to reset all File Associations to default in Windows 10.

Post ported from WinVistaClub.com and updated and posted here.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

20 Comments

  1. CAteacher

    What are the repercussions of changing an HP Windows 8 to a Windows 7 operating system?

  2. You mean you want to downgrade Windows 8 to Windows 7? Well its a change of operating system! See this: https://www.thewindowsclub.com/downgrade-windows-8-to-windows-7

  3. jbday

    What ever happened to the file association option that could be used when editing a file? You were able to use a different program to open as opposed to edit a file.

  4. Skype English

    Thank you soooo much you saved me from a reformat. I was getting this weird .cpl file association error (blocking me from loading windows control panel and also blocked me from associating files in the start menu). For some reason your tool just clicked and saved my associations and I was able to repair my computer. (I think it was malware from Wise365) any rate thank you so much! I’m glad you guys are still around!

  5. TeeKay

    “Types” appears to have disappeared. Any help?

  6. Amit Bajpai

    why are new .java files created as text .txt files when done in notepad by default how to overcome it

  7. Pooua

    Right click on the file name and choose, “Open with.” Go down to “Set Default Program.” Choose the program that you want to use from the available options, or select “Search” to look for a different program.

  8. frankz00

    A more sensible desktop UI…

  9. KAH

    I clicked to open a photo today, and my Window photo gallery program is gone? Just missing completely. I went to Microsoft to attempt to download it again and it read that I already had it installed. Can anyone help me with how or why this could happen? I have a external hard drive and an image restore and blah blah which nothing opens from it, that is why I came here to read about the file extensions but thought I would ask everyone about my problem.

  10. Holger

    This not an answer to the question. The question is how to set the ‘edit’ program, not the ‘open’ program. Does anyone know where to set that?

  11. Aldrian Chiuco

    i have a problem in my file association, i cant open the “Set Associations” in the control panel. i cant also open the “regedit”… is there a way to fix my computer? pls help me… Thank You

  12. yagnesh bhalala

    my problem is ‘ load extension fail or associate file type ‘ view error in when i open google chrome

  13. adrianbonnington

    sometimes when I save a word file – word wont let me re-open the document. I have to go to security – then add users – type au and set preferences. Is this due to doc or docx or something else? adrianbonni(at)postmaster(dot)co(dot)uk

  14. wizzwizz4

    Here’s a tip; save them as *All Files*, not as *Text Document (.txt)*.

  15. Thokozani Ntshangase

    User cannot use icons and applications on Windows 8.1, the icons have been extended with error code, e.g. Mail Error, Camera Error, Pictures Error, Store Error, for all application icons on Applications your urgent assistance will be highly appreciated.

  16. Kenneth Blackstock

    default program association.FILE EXTENTION THERE A BAD FILE WANT GO AWAY WIN 10

  17. David Fairbrother

    I was having difficulty with opening pdf files as pdf in windows 10 kept kicking me over to excel. my thanks for the cure.

  18. Tim Turner

    Cannot locate any place in windows 10 to associate the mailto link to thunderbird. Trying to repair the sendto option that windows update broke. Tried everything I’ve found to try. Will Windows toys work in windows 10?

  19. Noel da Costa

    This is great except for the fact that the app I want to assign doesn’t appear in the list of assignable apps! 🙁 I found that a better way is to right-click the file icon and go to properties. There you can select more easily.

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