There are tons of file types that a user can work with. There are also several programs that can open a specific file type. For example, a bitmap type of file (.bmp extension) is an image file that can be opened by programs like MS Paint, Picasa Photo Viewer, Metro app “Photos”, Paint.NET, etc. An mp3 file can be opened by programs like Windows Media Player, Clementine, SMPlayer, VLC, etc.
When you open a file, Windows need to select a program to open the file with. So, it will prompt user every time to select a program. If a program has been defined as default for that file type, then Windows will automatically use that program, thus avoiding the requirement of the user interaction.
This Control Panel applet lets you select a default program for all the file types residing in your Windows system.
How to Launch It
- Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
- Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
- Select “Programs” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
- Select “Default Programs”. This will launch the applet on the same control panel page.
Set your default programs
This option works in the context of programs. It lets you select file types for a specific program which will open with this program.
On selecting a program, the applet shows the number of file types for which this program can work as default. You can either make the program as default for all the file types or choose specific file types.
The above image lists all the file types that Paint program can open. You can select all or specific file types for Paint.
Associate a file type or protocol with a program
This option works in the context of file types. You can choose a program for a specific file type to work as default.
To select a default program for a file type, select the file type and click on “Choose program”.
This will launch a pop up window that lists several programs. It also provides option to search for a program online or on local PC.
Change AutoPlay Settings
This option lets you select what program Windows should automatically open when an external device like optical discs, pen drive, hard disks, etc., are connected to PC.
Set Program Access and Computer Defaults
There are several activities for which PC is used more frequently – web browsing, e-mail, media player and instant messaging. Windows provides three pre-defined configurations that set default programs for these activities.
- Microsoft Windows – This configuration sets Microsoft programs as default.
- Non-Microsoft – This configuration uses currently set default programs.
- Custom – You can select Microsoft or non-Microsoft programs to use as default programs.