Notepad is the default text editor found in Windows computers. Every .txt file is configured to open directly in the Notepad. It has paved the way for text editors over quite some time now, in which period we have seen some very promising competitors of Notepad. One of these is Notepad++. It is a free, open-sourced text editing software that provides the same features as the Notepad and then some. Users can write on Notepad++ in several languages.
Notepad++ has several features integrated into it that lightweight applications like Notepad lack. If you’re someone who’s found him/herself to be very comfortable with Notepad++ and feels like Notepad isn’t suiting your needs anymore, this article is for you. Today, we will be showing you how you can replace Notepad with Notepad++ to edit any text files on your Windows PC.
There are several aspects of text editing and curation that Notepad lacks, many of which are specialized by Notepad++. Users lack the ability to modify large text files in Notepad, which is something one can easily do in Notepad++. There are several advanced features such as finding text in all the files of a folder, bookmarking files, customizable hotkeys, and a much better search and replace utility. Besides, the app is only 5MB big (still bigger than Notepad which, if you download from the Windows Store, is only around 2MB).
Is Notepad and Notepad ++ the same?
Given how similar the names of both these applications are, users often get confused between them. The line can most simply be drawn with the fact that Notepad is Microsoft’s built-in text editing application while Notepad++ is a third-party app i.e., you have to download it separately. In terms of features, Notepad stands nowhere in comparison to Notepad++. While the former offers the most basic, mainstream features, you can perform several advanced tasks on Notepad++ like simultaneous editing, line bookmarking, split-screen editing, and many more. Notepad++ is also used as an IDE more widely than Notepad.
How do I replace Notepad?
If you want to replace Notepad’s executable file (.exe) with one of its alternatives, then you have a procedure for that too. Here’s what you need to do in that case:
- Download your replacement for Notepad
- Make copies of Notepad’s executable files in C:\Windows and C:\Windows\System32
- Take ownership of Notepad via app properties and delete the app from the locations
- Paste your replacement’s executable file on all those locations and rename it as ‘Notepad.exe’
How to replace Notepad with Notepad++ as the default Text Editor
1] Using the Elevated Command Prompt
The method in place here is pretty simple. The obvious prerequisite here is for you to have Notepad++ downloaded and installed on your PC. After that, you just have to follow the steps below:
- Open an elevated Command Prompt from the Start Menu or the Power User Menu.
- Copy and paste the following command line in the Command Prompt and press Enter.
- The below command line is if you’re running a 32-bit version of Notepad++.
reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe" /v "Debugger" /t REG_SZ /d "\"%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f
- If you have the 64-bit version, use the command line below:
reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe" /v "Debugger" /t REG_SZ /d "\"%ProgramFiles%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f
- Once completed, you’ll receive an “Operation Successful” message on your screen, after which you can close the CMD and restart your system to let the change take effect.
You can verify the change from your Registry Editor. The change can be made via the Registry Editor too, changing the relevant bit value. If you want to undo the above changes, just run the following command line:
reg delete "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe" /v "Debugger" /f
2] Setting text files to open with Notepad++
There’s another, a rather easy way around this issue that may work just fine for you too. If you simply configure your text files to open with Notepad++ and not their default app, Notepad. This way, Notepad isn’t blocked and your text files will open in Notepad++ by default too. Here’s how you can make the switch:
- Create a sample text file and put it on your Desktop, so that it’s easy to access
- Right-click on the app icon and select Properties
- Under the General tab, you’ll see an ‘Open With:’ option. Click on the change button next to it
- From the list of apps, select Notepad++ and click Ok to save the settings
- If you don’t find Notepad++ here, click on More Apps
For most users, this method works just fine and is easier than the first one too, but if you want all the commands directed at Notepad to be diverted towards Notepad++, you can use the Command Line method as well.
3] Use Notepad Replacer
Freeware Notepad Replacer lets you replace Notepad the easy way! It will allow you to replace the default Windows version of Notepad with whatever alternative you would like to use.
We hope that this post has clarified all your doubts about how you can replace Notepad with Notepad++, or any text editor for that matter.
Related: How to set Notepad++ as default editor for .xml files.