Configure, export, import App File Associations in Windows 10/8.1

We have see how we can set or change File Associations & Extensions in Windows via the Control Panel Default Programs applet. Windows 10/8.1/8 also allow you to configure these File Associations via Settings.

For those who may not know, each file in your Windows operating system has an extension in its filename eg. .jpg, .pdf, etc. These extensions are used to identify the program, with which, Windows can open this file.

Configure File Associations in Windows 10/8.1

In Windows 8.1, open the Charms bar, click Settings and then Change PC Settings. In the left side, click on Search and Apps > Defaults.

Now you can change the default apps under the Choose default apps. Click on the app to change defaults or click on Choose a default to ass a default for an app.

You can also choose and set default apps by file type or by Protocol.

  • Click on Choose default apps by file type link to associate file types with specific apps. Clicking on a Modern UI or Desktop app will allow you to set the defaults.
  • Click on Choose default apps by protocol to associate protocols with specific apps, and do the needful here.

Windows 10 users should open Settings via WinX Menu > Apps > Default apps and click on the Choose default apps by file type or by Protocol link.

Export, import File Association settings list

Once you have manually configured all the file associations, if you wish you can also export and save these settings. This can also be very useful if you are running a network of multiple computers and need to deploy the same settings on all.

To export the list, open an elevated Command Prompt, type the following and hit Enter.

Dism.exe /Online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations:C:\FileAssociations.xml

Export, import File Association settings list

You will see a FileAssociations.xml file on your C Drive.

export-fille-associations

To import these mappings you have to use:

Dism.exe /Online /Import-DefaultAppAssociations:C:\FileAssociations.xml

More on this at TechNet.

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.

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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.