Windows 7 Tutorial

Change which program opens a particular file extension in Windows 7

In Windows 7, like in previous versions of Microsoft's operating system, the "file extension" determines the "file type", which in turn determines which program will open a this particular type of file. For example, an Excel file type can have multiple, different file extensions (as shown on the screenshot below), and as you'll learn in this tutorial, you can customize the application that will launch when you double-click on any file extension. This is especially useful when a newly installed program on your computer takes over the file extension you want associated with another application instead.

Each file type can have multiple file extensions in Windows 7
We wrote a specific tutorial for one of the most common request, which is to change the default text editor that opens TXT files (using a Notepad replacement, in other words).


Customize file types handlers based on file extensions

Follow these easy steps to change the default program for a particular extension:

And that's all it takes to reassign the default program to open certain file types and extensions in Windows 7! You can at any point go back and restore the original application, or try out a new one.

Warning: only change very common file extensions' default programs - if you customize some unknown file extension, you risk seriously crippling Windows 7. If you are unsure about a particular file type, perform an online search first, to make sure that you are not about to compromise some system file type - or ask the nearby geek for help!

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