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Changing Windows 7 File Associations

This blog articles explains how to manage your Windows 7 File Associations, that is which software programs are used to open which files on your hard disk, when using the Captisium Universal File Handler and from web sites etc.

There are hundreds of different kinds of files on your computer including images, videos, music, text documents, executable applications and much more. Each file stores different information in different ways and can only be opened by certain programs. Windows takes the potential confusion out of this system by associating certain programs with certain file types right out of the box. While your default associations will work for most apps and programs, you'll undoubtedly want to change a few as you try out alternative applications and find new favorites. Read on and we'll show how to change file associations in Windows 7.

Change by Program

The most efficient way to change file associations is by selecting a default program. This tells Windows that you want a certain program to be associated with all the file types it can handle.

In Windows 7, you can search for "default programs" in the Start Menu search box and click the appropriate search result.

While searching is faster, you can also find the appropriate window in the Control Panel: go to "Programs -> Default Programs -> Set Your Default Programs".

Regardless of which version of Windows you're using, the following steps are the same and the Set Default Programs window looks and works the same.

Once you open the "Set Default Programs" window, select a program or app from the list on the left side of the window.

To make that program or app the default, thus changing the file associations for all file extensions it is equipped to handle, click or tap "Set this program as default" on the right side of the window.

If you'd like to change only a specific extension, click or tap "Choose defaults for this program."

The screen that opens displays a list of all file extensions your selected app or program can open. Browse through the list and select any file types you want to associate to your chosen program. When you finish, click or tap Save.

By File Extension

While changing associations by program is efficient, it's not the only way to do the job. You can also change file associations by file extension.

In Windows 7, search for "file association" in the Start Menu search box and click "Make a file type always open in a specific program."

In Windows 7, you can find the same panel in the Control Panel by going to: "Programs -> Default Programs -> Associate a file type or protocol with a program".

To change a file association, scroll through the list of extensions to find the one you'd like to change. Select your extension and click or tap "Change Program."

You can select your program from the window or click the down arrow next to "Other Programs."

This expands the list of programs. If you still don't see what you want, click or tap Browse and find your program's executable in Windows Explorer.

Click OK when you're done.