How to Set Default Programs For File Types In Windows Vista & Windows 7

Himanshu Yadav

Sometimes when you open a file, it opens with the program you don’t prefer to use. Here’s an example – suppose you want to see a movie that’s in .mp4 format. You double click on the file and it opens in Windows Media player which is set as the default player to open such files.

It starts with a warning saying that the selected file is not recognized by Windows Media player. And finally when you choose “Yes” option to play the file, it results in file error or it plays just the audio.


In such cases, you usually switch to a different program by right clicking on the file, going to “open with” and selecting your favorite application (VLC media player in this case).

right-click windows

Now, for one file, it’s cool. But doing it every time is boring and time consuming. Is there a better solution? Absolutely. You can choose the default program for that file extension by selecting “Choose Default Program” from the context menu. In fact, you could set default programs for different file types at one go.

This tutorial tells you how to do it in Windows Vista and Windows 7.

1. Click on “Start” button start . Now click on “Default Programs”.

default programs

2. Click on “Associate a file type or protocol with a program”.

file-type windows

3. Now select the extension name given in the box below. You can scroll down the box to see all the available file types. Click on any extension for which you wish to select a default program. For example I selected .jpg format and then clicked “Change program” button.

file-type windows

4. You will find two sections : “Recommended Programs” and “Other Programs”. Select your favorite program for the selected file type. I selected “Picasa” in the Other Programs section for .jpg files. Similarly you could select other file types and their corresponding default programs.

If you don’t find your favorite program in the list then you have to use “Browse” button to look for the program in your computer. Under C:-> Program files you can find all the installed programs.

select-program windows

5. It will load your settings within seconds.

file-loading windows

That’s how you can set default program for a file type in Windows and save your time. This can be done for file formats you deal with on a daily basis.

Know any other tricks related to the above method? Share them in the comments.

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