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Windows 7 - How to Change the Default Program for a File Type

Popular formats, such as many audio and video formats, are supported by dozens of different programs. For example, when you install a new media player, your audio and video files will now open with that media player, unless you configured it to do otherwise during the installation. When you install an application, it usually associates itself with certain types of files by default. You can sometimes guess which program a file type is associated with by the icon that is used to display it. If you want a specific type of file to open with your favourite suitable program, you can configure the default program with just a few clicks.

The quickest way to access the area of the "Default Programs" control panel that we need is to type "Associations" into the start menu search box and click on "Change the file type associated with a file extension" when it appears on the results. Wait a few seconds for Windows 7 to provide a list of all of the recognized file types on your computer. The list may seem rather overwhelming at first, but it's actually pretty simply to use.

Scroll down the list until you find the file type extension that you are looking for. For example, MP3 audio files have the file extension ".mp3." Select the file type to highlight it and then click the "Change program" button. A list of recommended programs will appear. Usually, you will be able to find the program that you want to use here. If not, click the arrow to the right of "Other Programs." A new list will appear containing various other programs installed on your computer. Be aware that most of these will be completely unsuitable for opening your file but, you may still find your preferred program in the list. If not, click "Browse" and navigate to the location of the program you want to use. Click "OK" when done.

Your changes will take place immediately and, from now on, that program will always open with the program you specified.

You can also avoid this extensive list of known file extensions by simply right-clicking on a specific file and choosing "Open with" and then "Choose default program." This will bring you straight to the list of recommended and other programs for opening that file. If you do this, ensure the box beside "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" is checked before clicking "OK."


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