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How to Change Applications or Programs That Open Your Files in Windows

Updated on June 19, 2011
how to change default applications or programs in microsoft windows
how to change default applications or programs in microsoft windows

Installing new applications or programs is a common thing to happen in the computing world. It is almost impossible for most people to open whatever file types on their PC with existing applications. However, sometimes, with new applications installed, the programs that Windows usually uses to open a particular file type may be replaced with the newly installed applications. Although some people would not mind this, there are some others that may find it quite annoying. Fortunately, it is possible for PC users to revert to the older rather than the newer applications.

For example, consider there is a file with the extension of MDB and Windows usually opens it with Microsoft Access. Then, a PC user installs LibreOffice Base, say, because it is what the user works with at the office. Unfortunately, because the LibreOffice Base application is installed after Microsoft Access, it may alter Windows settings so that the OS will use the LibreOffice Base application by default to open the file with the MDB extension.

Unfortunately, the user may feel rather inconvenient because of this. So, here are a few things that the user can do to revert the settings in Windows. For information, the steps shown here apply to Windows 7. However, the steps required in earlier versions of Windows won’t likely vary too much from the ones shown here.

open with menu to open files
open with menu to open files
choose default programs from the list
choose default programs from the list

The First Method of Choosing Default Applications or Programs in Microsoft Windows

The first step that PC users need to do is to right click on the file type they want to open. In this case, it is the file with the MDB extension mentioned earlier. Then, they need to choose the Open with… menu. If Windows detects no recent applications used to open this particular type of file, the only option that will be available is Choose default program…. However, if there are indeed recent applications detected, those applications will become available to choose from the Windows Explorer context submenu.

If the desired program or application is not visible on the list that appears on the next window, PC users can click on the Browse… button to look for the program they desire to open the particular file type. Once they have found the program they want, they can check the box that says “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file”. They can then click OK.

choose the default programs in windows control panel
choose the default programs in windows control panel
microsoft windows default programs, details and options
microsoft windows default programs, details and options
set application or program defaults
set application or program defaults

The Second Alternative in Choosing Default Applications or Programs in Microsoft Windows

There is also another way they can revert to the previous applications to open a certain type of file. They can click on the Windows 7 Start button and choose Default Programs. This will take users to Default Programs section reachable through the Programs submenu in Windows Control Panel.

There will be 4 options available, first of which is what the users are supposed to choose, it says “Set your default programs”. This will bring the users to the next screen with 2 panes, the one on the left hand side enlists quite a few programs and the one on the right hand side explains more details on the selected program or application.

For example, if the PC users choose Firefox as illustrated in one of the images accompanying this article, they will see a brief description regarding the Firefox web browsing application. In addition to that, there will be 2 options as well. These options are:

1. Set this program as default; this causes Windows to use this application by default to open the particular file type selected by the PC users.

2. Choose defaults for this program; this allows the users to choose what file types the selected application will open by default. To add an item, users simply need to put a check on the corresponding box. Of course, clearing a check box will remove an item. When the users are done, they simply need to click Save. Windows will then redirect them to the previous screen and all they need to do is click OK and their Microsoft Windows operating system will be back to normal once again regardless of the existence of the newly installed applications.


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    • profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      Hello rorshak sobchak, thank you. Sure, will try to give my best to others via Hubpages. :)

    • profile image

      rorshak sobchak 

      7 years ago

      Great write up. Keep up the great work.


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