Every file in Windows has an extension as part of its file name, such as .txt, .doc, and so on. These extensions are used to define the default program that opens that file when you double-click on the file.
You can set or change these file type associations in Windows 7. In Windows XP, this feature was available in the folder options. However, it was removed from this location in Windows 7. It is now available as Set Default Programs in the Default Programs tool available in Control Panel in Windows 7.
Alternatively, you can right-click the file you want to change the association for and choose Properties from the pop-up menu. Then click the “Edit” button on the “General” tab.
In the Open With dialog box, you can select a program from the lists of recommended programs or other programs. You can also select a custom program using the Browse button.
NOTE. By default, the program you select in this dialog box will always be used to open other files of the same type as the selected file. You cannot clear the “Always use the selected program to open this type of file” checkbox.
If you accidentally associate a file type with a specific program and want to remove that association and revert to using the default global association for that file type, the Set Default Programs tool does not provide a simple graphical method for this. We found a free Unassociate File Types tool that makes it easy to remove file type associations in Windows 7.
NOTE. Unassociate File Types require administrator rights to function properly.
Download unrelated file types from
Unlinked file types also work in Windows Vista. In this post we provide examples from Windows 7.
The utility does not require installation. Just unzip the downloaded file and double-click the Unassoc.exe file to launch the utility.
Click Yes in the User Account Control dialog box that appears.
In the main Unassociate File Types window, select the desired file extension from the File types list. To remove a custom link to the selected file type, click the Remove File Link (User) button. This changes the default program used to open a file when you double-click on that type of file.
NOTE. The Remove File Association (User) button is not available until you select a file extension from the list of file types.
After you click the Remove File Association (User) button, a dialog box appears informing you that the custom file association has been removed from the registry. After you remove a file type association using the Unlink File Type tool, Windows will use the global default file association settings for that file type.
To close the Unlink File Types tool, click the X button in the upper right corner of the dialog box.
You can use the Remove File Type button to completely remove the file type from the registry. Be careful when choosing this option, as it removes both user and global associations for the selected file type. Try not to use this parameter for common file types such as .txt and .doc, and generally use it sparingly.
If you added or changed file associations using Windows tools while the Unassign File Type tool was open, click the Refresh List button to refresh the list of available file types. Enjoy!