Windows

How do I... Change file extension associations in Windows Vista

To determine which application will run when you double click a file icon, Windows Vista uses the familiar file extension system made famous (infamous) in earlier versions of Windows. And, just like the previous versions of the operating system, figuring out how to change a file extension association in Windows Vista can be a little frustrating if you don't know where to look.

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Mark W. Kaelin

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Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

8 comments
ElijahKam
ElijahKam

Windows only provides a way to associate a file with a single program. By using File Doctor in Creative Element Power Tools, you can add alternative associations to the context menu. You can then choose the program you need for a particular purpose. For example, I set up several video players in the context menu so I can choose the one most suitable for the particular video. The same applies even more to audio players. Another example involves images. I use Fastone if I just want to look at an image but I can click on Photoshop if I want to edit the image.

dwood005
dwood005

How do I find out what the original association was when it is changed by an app? My *.dat find have been changed to a vidio association and I do not know what it should be for a data association.

mriddell
mriddell

Start Menu; type index in the search box. Indexing options at top of menu; Advanced; File Types tab; type desired extension in box lower left, click add new extension. That's it!

markwit80
markwit80

How about the presence of this error message just before the applet runs? : Windows cannot find '::{21EC2020-3AEA-1069-A2DD-08002B30309D}\::{D555645E-D4F8-4C29-A827-D93C859C4F2A}'. Make sure you typed the name correctly, and then try again.

bladedragonlord
bladedragonlord

M$ has once again made something fairly simple complicated as heck. Having worked with PC's for umpteen years, I can see the need to change soemthing about the way file extensions are associated with programs. You wouldn't believe the number of times I've seen *.Mp3 set to be opened by a picture viewer, because the user didn't know what they were doing and then complained that the computer crashed everytime they went to open, "One of them music thingies they got from a friend." But is this the answer? Admin rights don't work, because lazy techs set everyone one up with Admin accounts. It's a pity M$ are so lazy as not to warn the user that they are trying to open a music file with a picture viewer permanently! For the power user this new way just becomes a chore! Seriously you'd think that someone like M$ would get in some usability experts, but obviously they don't. Cheers!

mosnas
mosnas

xxxx Message was edited by: beth.blakely@...

MagicSoul
MagicSoul

...now that I know how to change the file associations in Vista, how do I change the icon associated with program that opens the file ? In WinXP there was an advanced tab which allowed you to change the assigned icon. Where is this in Vista ???

Tig2
Tig2

Please make it. Otherwise you're spam.