How to Reset, Export and Import Default App Associations on Windows

Windows 10 on the desktop has a plethora of applications available. Almost every kind of software is available for Windows 10. Even if you want to make a shortcut to copy and paste, you have a freeware to do it automatically for you. This gives the users a variety of choice of programs to execute their different kinds of files.

Some people expect HTML or PHP files to open with Visual Studio Code, but not with Notepad – which is the default editor to open such files. Or, some people prefer VLC Media Player to open their MKV files and not the inbuilt Movies and TV app (in some regions Films and TV). Windows lets them make their own choices like this, but when the user performs a feature update, these settings often tend to be lost, and Windows resets everything to its defaults. So, today we will try to create a backup of this configuration settings and learn how to restore it just to regain all your settings back as they were before the update.

Export & Import Default App Associations on Windows

We always recommend creating a System Restore Point so that whenever such errors take place, you can just roll back to the previous known stable state of your computer.

Export the configuration with Command Prompt

First of all, start by opening a Command Prompt with Administrator level privileges. To do that, Press WINKEY + X button combo or right-click on the Start button and click on Command Prompt (Admin). Click on Yes for the UAC or User Account Control prompt that you get.

Now, type in the following command and hit Enter.

dism /online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations:"%UserProfile%\Desktop\DefaultApplicationAssociations.xml"

This will create a file named as DefaultApplicationAssociations.xml on your Desktop.

Upon opening it with Notepad or any similar editor like Visual Studio Code or Sublime Text, you will see a like to files types and their associations with the programs.

You can use this file to restore your configuration anytime. So taking a backup of this file is a smart thing to do.

Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

Import the configuration with Command Prompt

Again open a Command Prompt Window with Administrator level privileges.

Now, type in the following command and hit Enter.

dism /online /Import-DefaultAppAssociations:"%UserProfile%\Desktop\DefaultApplicationAssociations.xml"

Now, make sure that you enter the path of the backup application association file in the command.

Once completed successfully, it will give you a message saying, The operation completed successfully.

Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

Reset the Application Association Configuration with Command Prompt

Reset, Export and Import Default App Associations

Again, in an elevated Command Prompt, type in the following command and hit Enter.

dism /online /Remove-DefaultAppAssociations

Once completed successfully, it will give you a message saying, The operation completed successfully.

Reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

Hope this tip works for you.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Ayush has been a Windows enthusiast since the day he got his first PC with Windows 98SE. He is an active Windows Insider since Day 1 and is now a Windows Insider MVP. He has been testing pre-release services on his Windows 10 PC, Lumia, and Android devices.

2 Comments

  1. Francois

    Could this be imported to another machine ie to import after new setup done to quickly associate programs with same defaults as the machine it was exported from?

  2. turnipweed

    Is there an EXE, VBS, REG, or BAT file that will automate this?

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