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File Associations

How do you associate files with particular programs or change current associations by paulwood
Posted: 28 May 01

When you install a program (particularly graphics programs) they can 'hi-jack' all the file associations so that the new program is opened when you double-click a file. Fortunately it is relatively straight forward to change them back again.

Most graphics programs have an option to re-associate file types with them, Paint Shop Pro for instance has a menu item under Preferences, this would enable you to fix all the associations at once rather than clicking on each seperately in Explorer.

If you have to do it individually, whether the files are still associated with an installed program or left without an association after an uninstall, you have two options;

1. Open Explorer and go to View > Folder Options > File Types, find the file extension you want to associate and use the edit button to change the program associated with it. You can specify different programs to Open and Edit, useful for html files for instance.

2. Click the file type you want to associate, hold the shift key down and right click on the file. Choose the "Open with" option and choose the program you want to run.

Another simple tip is to add Notepad to the right-click menu by putting a shortcut to it in the C:\WINDOWS\SendTo subdirectory. That way you can open any text document without having to associate the file type with Notepad. This is useful for all the different readme type files, which may not have an extension and many other text files you want a quick look at.

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