How To Change Default Program Association in Windows

It’s a common problem that when you install a new program, it changes the file association, i.e., Let’s say you use Pain to view image files, but after you installed Adobe Photoshop, it now opens with it. Most of the time, applications ask for this as an option, but this still can happen. This post shares how you can modify the settings to change the default program association in Windows. It works on Windows 11/10 and any other version of Windows.

Windows chooses a specific application by default to open each type of file. A type of file can open in more than one program. You can reassign a file extension to a different application if you want. In Windows, you can change the default file association so that a single program opens all files with the particular file extension you choose.

How To Change Default Program Association in Windows

How To Change Default Program Association in Windows

Each of these methods does the same thing. While the first two methods allow you to change settings for multiple file types, the last one is when you need to change the association when you need it.

  1. Windows Settings
  2. Classic Control Panel
  3. Using File Properties

Be aware that when you install new programs, you get the option to disallow it not to become the default program for the file type.

1] Windows Settings 

Using Windows Settings is the first method to change your desired program association.

  • Press Win + I to open Settings.
  • Navigate to Apps > Default apps.
  • On the Default apps page, scroll down and find the extension for which you want to change.
  • Click on the outgoing arrow at the end, and it will show the pop-up windowChange Default Apps Windows
  • When the Choose an app pop-up, select the program you want to associate with that file type, or you can search for one in the Microsoft Store.

2] Control Panel 

Using Control Panel is the second method to alter Windows’s default application to open each file type.

  • Go to Start. On the search box, type Control Panel.
  • Next, click Programs > Default Programs > Associate a file type or protocol with a program.Set Default Programs for Files
  • Here, the Default apps page will open, and you will find a list of applications you use.
  • Click on the particular app to which you want to change the file extension, and apply the change.

3] Using File Properties 

If you need to open a file in another program and want to do it right away, then it s the simplest method to change the default program. Using File Properties, you can change the file extension of the selected file.

  • Right-click on the file and select Properties from the given list.
  • Click on the Change button in the properties window.
  • A new pop-up window will open, asking you how you want to open the chosen file. Change file Assocation type Windows
  • Select it, and the association will change. Double-click to open the file in the app you chose.

For example, if images on your PC open in Paint, and you want to open them in Adobe Photoshop, you can set Adobe Photoshop as the default program.


I hope the post was easy to follow and you were able to change the default program association in Windows. These associations are related to a file type, and you can choose to open them as you wish. So, for example, JPEG can open in PicPick, PNG can open in MS Paint, and so on.

What Do You Mean by Changing a Program’s File Association?

It means that one particular type of file will open in another application. Since default apps help to quickly open in the preferred app, changing the association makes sense.

If you like to use Paint as default, but since a third-party app has taken over, you can change the association. Once done, a double-click will open it in Paint.

Why Is the Newly Set Default Option for a Program Not Opening?

You can either reinstall the program or try changing the default option. Windows may act this way, but changing the default association once more should resolve the problem. A quick way to fix the problem is to change the association to something else and then change it back to your preferred app.


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