Windows 7 Tutorial

Change the default text editor in Windows 7 (Notepad replacement to open TXT files)

Unlike other operating systems, Windows 7 (and earlier versions of Windows) use the file extension to determine which program should launch this particular file type. In recent versions of Windows, the file extension of known file types is hidden by default, so you may not be able to see it (how to show file extensions in Windows 7). Whenever you install new programs, they may automatically associate themselves with a particular file extension, like "*.txt" for text files, something you may not want. This tutorial will explain how to manually force Windows to open text files with an editor of your choice, whether you are restoring the  association with Notepad, or associating it with a more advanced Notepad replacement of your choice.

Tip - here are a few free Notepad replacements you can download and try:
Metapad, Notepad 2, NoteTab ("Light" edition is free), and PFE (among many others!)
If you are willing to pay, TextPad is our favorite all-purpose text editor.


Change the editor that opens text files

This tutorial focuses on the TXT file extension, but the procedure is the same if you want to affect other simple text-based files like INI and others.

To test your new default text editor, navigate to a folder that contains a txt file, and double-click on it: it should now automatically open with the default text editor you selected. Note that this is a setting that only affects the current user (the profile under which you are logged on).

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