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How do I change the default file associations for Open, Preview, Edit and Print in Vista? RRS feed

  • Question

  • How do I change the default file associations for Open, Preview, Edit and Print in Vista?

     

    For example, let's say that I have a jpeg file in front of me in the Pictures Folder and I want to be able to set the right click menu options for that jpeg file so that when I select Edit, it opens the file in say Microsoft Paint - How do I do that?

     

    What I want to set up is the following:

     

    Right Click / Open -> Opens the file in Windows Live Photo Gallery (The Default Program)

     

    Right Click / Preview -> Opens the file in Microsoft Office Picture Manager

     

    Right Click / Edit -> Opens the file in Microsoft Paint

     

    Right Click / Print -> Opens the file in Adobe PDF Maker

     

    Any assistance here would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance! Brendan Tuppack.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2008 7:18 PM

All replies

  • hey did you ever figure out how to do this? because I am wanting to do something similar, but only change the program that previews a photo to the original default program for doing so. when i reinstalled Photoshop, it made itself the default program for previewing it. But I want the default program (whichever is the photo program that looks similar to windows media player) to preview it, not photoshop. any assistance on this matter will be appreciated.
    Sunday, June 1, 2008 3:46 PM
  •  

    This was possible in XP but has gone in Windows Vista.
    Can anyone in Microsoft reply this post?

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008 11:35 PM
  • hi

    I have a solution for his

    Go to :http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/5100-10878_11-6172036.html"

    here you will find clear demonstration for changing the associations





    Friday, June 13, 2008 11:16 AM
  • Unfortunately, the vista tool only changes the "open" association and gives one no options for changing the "Edit" associations.  I need to change the Edit association.
    Friday, June 13, 2008 4:23 PM
  • Has anyone found the answer to this?  What is the official Microsoft documentation on this?  I used to do it in Windows 95 from Explorer Folder Options.

    I need to associate Edit for .jpg files to Paint dot Net.  I was going through the Microsoft Vista Set Default Programs and because of the very confusing English the default Edit program for .jpg files was accidentally changed to Windows Photo Gallery.  I don't know exactly how or when it happened.

    Who can decipher what the following sentence from Microsoft Vista Set Default Programs:

    "To set a program as the default for all file types and protocols it can open, click the program and then click Set as default."

    It then lists 10 programs, all Microsoft's (IE, Outlook, Windows Calendar, Windows Contacts, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Mail, Windows Mail (News), WMP, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Search Explorer).  There's no buttons or options to select other programs on the PC.

    Thanks.

    Thursday, January 15, 2009 8:34 AM
  • I was in the same boat because I was quite happy to have Vista use Windows Photo Gallery to preview my pictures on a double-click, as typically I just want to look at them without having to open a whole new application to do so, but wanted Photoshop Elements to open on a right-click Edit. After lots of searching I've concluded that it isn't possible to do in Vista using the GUI, but if you feel confident enough, you can change it in the registry. And here's how:

    1. Open up the registry editor (Regedit.exe) as an administrator
    2. Under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT, find the file extension you want to change (in this case .jpg)
    3. Take a note of what is listed under this key as the Default value (in this case it was "jpegfile")
    4. Find this entry further down under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT - it'll be located past the end of the file extensions bit
    5. Expand this entry and you will probably find three subkeys - CLSID, DefaultIcon and Shell
    6. Expand "Shell" and under here will be a subkey for each right-click menu item (in this case I had Edit, Open and Print)
    7. Under "Edit" you'll find another key called "Command", the default value of which is the program currently used to open the file when editing
    8. Change this value to the full path of your chosen editing program (in my case it was "C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Photoshop Elements 7.0\PhotoshopElementsEditor.exe")
    9. After the final speech mark you will need to add a space, then a percent sign and the number one (e.g. Editor.exe" %1) - this tells the program not only to open, but to load the picture file you were right clicking on at the same time.

    Hopefully that should work for you - it did for me!

    Sunday, July 26, 2009 2:25 PM
  • It didn't work for me.  The Default data for my .JPG key is jpegfile.  And my entry for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\jpegfile\shell\edit\command is as follows:



    But when I right click a .jpg file and select Edit, Windows Photo Gallery will open.

    My registry data is the same for pngfile.  But when I right click a .png file and Edit, Windows Paint will open.  So obviously the Edit program setting is somewhere else.

    When I first installed Paint dot Net, that program correctly sets the default edit program to Paint dot net for .jpg, .png files etc.  But I was playing around with setting Default programs in Vista and suddenly the default Edit program is lost.
    • Edited by K.Kong Sunday, July 26, 2009 3:49 PM
    Sunday, July 26, 2009 3:21 PM
  • It didn't work for me.  The Default data for my .JPG key is jpegfile.  And my entry for HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\jpegfile\shell\edit\command is as follows:



    But when I right click a .jpg file and select Edit, Windows Photo Gallery will open.

    My registry data is the same for pngfile.  But when I right click a .png file and Edit, Windows Paint will open.  So obviously the Edit program setting is somewhere else.

    When I first installed Paint dot Net, that program correctly sets the default edit program to Paint dot net for .jpg, .png files etc.  But I was playing around with setting Default programs in Vista and suddenly the default Edit program is lost.


    There is a small error in your key.
    Your key entry should look like this:

    "C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\PaintDotNet.exe" "%1"

    Your %1 is not surrounded by quotes, it should be.
    I kept getting prompted to select default program when I modified my key and forget the quotes myself.

    Cheers! :)

    Wednesday, July 29, 2009 1:04 PM
  • Thanks.  The quotes were there.  I had just removed them before taking the screenshot because I thought that could be the trouble.  Putting them back produces the same result.
    Wednesday, July 29, 2009 1:15 PM
  • Strange.
    The contents of my key is:

    "%SystemRoot%\System32\mspaint.exe" "%1"

    Give it a try on yours to see if by right-clicking a jpg picture and choosing edit if it will open it in an MSPaint.
    Wednesday, July 29, 2009 1:21 PM
  • No joy.  Just tried that and rebooted.  Edit still brings up Windows Photo Gallery.

    That both my jpegfile and pngfile entries point to PaintDotNet.exe, but one opens up Windows Photo Gallery and the other opens up Windows Paint, the setting for Edit must be located somewhere else.  For those of you who are successful, I think it is a coincidence that these entries happen to contain the "right" values.

    I don't know why it is so difficult for Microsoft to provide documentation for this.  Instead it prefers to let everyone waste hours and hours of precious time.  I always tell off Microsoft haters that bundling IE etc are not evil things.  Refusal to provide documentation is.  (Documentation that is not searchable is the same as not providing documentation.)  In this case, quietly removing a feature that was in previous versions and then refusing to help is very evil.

    • Proposed as answer by ReczekT Thursday, September 3, 2009 9:03 AM
    Wednesday, July 29, 2009 3:24 PM
  • Sorry, cliked the wrong button and proposed that post as an answer instead of hitting reply.
    Can't figure out a way to undo it, so please ignore.

    • Proposed as answer by fellrider2 Friday, June 29, 2012 12:32 AM
    Thursday, September 3, 2009 9:04 AM
  • OK, finally found some time to reply to this.

    First off, have you simply tried reinstalling PaintDotNet???  If so, and that didn't fix it, then read on.

    ---
    From an earlier post, K.Kong says

    "Who can decipher what the following sentence from Microsoft Vista Set Default Programs:

    "To set a program as the default for all file types and protocols it can open, click the program and then click Set as default."

    It then lists 10 programs, all Microsoft's (IE, Outlook, Windows Calendar, Windows Contacts, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Mail, Windows Mail (News), WMP, Windows Photo Gallery, Windows Search Explorer).  There's no buttons or options to select other programs on the PC."
    ---

    The bit about "all file types and protocols it can open" refers a list that each application maintains in the registry.  I only have the Live version of Windows Photo Gallery, so for that the list is held at:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Photo Gallery\Capabilities\FileAssociations]
    ".jpg"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.jpg.14.0"
    ".jpe"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.jpg.14.0"
    ".jpeg"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.jpg.14.0"
    ".jfif"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.jpg.14.0"
    ".png"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.png.14.0"
    ".bmp"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.bmp.14.0"
    ".dib"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.bmp.14.0"
    ".gif"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.gif.14.0"
    .....etc.

    If the program supports protocols (http:, https:, ftp:, etc.), these would be listed under a UrlAssociations key instead of the File Associations key

    The reason no other programs show up in Default Programs is that an application needs to specifically register with Default Programs in order to show up. 

    You can read all about it here if you are interested;
    See "Default Programs":
         http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776873(VS.85).aspx

    ----

    As for your specific issue with changes that you make to the "command" key under the "edit" verb not working, I think it's likely related to the order of precedence in how file associations are processed.

    In a nutshell, user associations override machine level associations, but there are more levels below those.
    See "PerceivedTypes, SystemFileAssociations, and Application Registration":
         http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776871(VS.85).aspx
    and "Verbs and File Associations":
         http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb776883(VS.85).aspx


    One important consideration regarding file types is that to register a file type globally on a particular computer, create an entry for the file type in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes . To make a file type registration visible to the current user only, create a file type entry in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes

    The HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry key is a view formed by merging HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes and HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes . In general, HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT is intended to be read from but not written to.

    So check under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes to see if a jpegfile entry exist with shell\edit keys in it that might be overriding the machine level values your are looking at.

    If not, then you need to dig deeper into the order of precedence spelled out in the "PerceivedTypes, SystemFileAssociations, and Application Registration" link above.

    Next check under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\jpegfile\shell  and see if there is an edit verb there that calls Windows Photo Gallery instead of PaintDotNet.

    Also check under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\SystemFileAssociations\image\shell (the perceived type for jpg files) as well.

    If nothing shows up at that point, then it's likely you have a ContextMenuHandler Shell extension installed somewhere that is tied to Windows Photo Gallery and the Edit verb which is overriding your changes.  Check under the ShellEx\ContextMenuHandlers key (where it exists) in all of the various locations above.  They'll be a GUID listed that you can then search on to find out what application executable the handler is associated with under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications
    and possibly get an idea as to what it does under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID.

    You'll have to disable the ContextMenuHandler if you find one that seems to be related.   To disable a handler, I suggest you change the name of the specific key under the ContextMenuHandlers key that holds the information ofr the handler in question.  Just add an "_backup" or something similar to the end of it rather than deleting it so you can restore it easily later on if necessary.

    You may need to reboot to see changes, but not usually.

    Good luck.

    Tim

    Thursday, September 3, 2009 2:05 PM
  • One other place to look:

    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.jpg\UserChoice]
    "Progid"="WindowsLive.PhotoGallery.jpg.14.0"

    I believe that the UserChoice key is created when Default Programs is used to change an association.

    If it exists for .jpg, then change the ProgID to be the one for PaintDotNet which you should be able to find listed somewhere under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Classes
    • Proposed as answer by Vacationer Wednesday, September 23, 2009 11:55 PM
    Thursday, September 3, 2009 2:44 PM
  • I'm using Windows 7 64bit 
    also using Photoshop a lot so I need a command Right Click / Edit -> Photoshop

    From Microsoft Paint to Photoshop (or any other soft) u can change that way:

    1. Open up the registry editor (Regedit.exe) as an administrator
    2. HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT -> SystemFileAssociations -> image -> shell -> edit -> command
    3. Double click on Default (on right window) and change path to whatever u want
    4. OK
    5. enjoy

    print value is next to edit


    If u need more values "Edit with..." or "Open with" with different soft then do this:

    1. Open up the registry editor (Regedit.exe) as an administrator
    2.  HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT -> * -> Shell
    3. New -> Key (name Edit with Photoshop)
    4. New -> Key (name command)
    5. Double click on Default (on right window) and show path to whatever u want and %1
    should be like this: "C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64 Bit)\Photoshop.exe" %1
    6. OK
    7. enjoy

    U can add as many as u need "Edit with..."


    • Edited by Vacationer Thursday, September 24, 2009 12:38 AM
    • Proposed as answer by A Mommy Friday, March 12, 2010 12:03 AM
    Thursday, September 24, 2009 12:05 AM
  • Doesn't work on mine.

    It shows MSPAINT.exe.  But when I right click Edit, Windows Photo Gallery is launched.

    A short description of how I work.  My Windows Explorer is in Details view and usually sorted by Name.  I press a letter key to jump directly to a block of files, may be use the down arrow key to go to the file I want, press the context menu key (the key between the right Alt and right Ctrl) and press E.  This all takes about one second, without my hands leaving the keyboard.  I am not a Mac user, who would typically take at least 10 seconds to do the same job.  Hence, the inability to remap the Edit key is now causing me suffering and big pain.
    Thursday, September 24, 2009 12:23 AM
  • My method is similar to Vacationer above.

    I have found a solution to change the 'Edit' default to use Paint.Net by changing the following register key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\SystemFileAssociations\image\shell\edit\command

    Key value changed to (Edit with Paint.NET): "C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\PaintDotNet.exe" "%1"

    I think similarly to change the 'Print' default to other application, you have to change the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\SystemFileAssociations\image\shell\print\command

    but the key value will be different to the 'Edit' above. You have to work it out as different application take different parameters.

    For the 'Open' default, it should be straight forward to change in Windows' Default Programs on control panel.

    For the 'Preview' default, as I'm using Picasa 3's Photo Viewer, I configured in Picasa>Tools>Configure Photo Viewer, to make Picasa Photo Viewer as default 'previewer'.

    Hope these help as it works as wished for me.




    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:02 PM
  • No joy.  Without my touching it, it was already as you described, but right-click E still launches Windows Photo Gallery.

    Tuesday, October 27, 2009 2:58 PM
  • I have also been struggling with this for some time in Windows Vista also.  We wanted images to Open in Fireworks or PhotoShop and preview or print with Photo Gallery (since its WAY faster to load).    We finally found a solution.

    The problem with the file association method in Vista is that the context menu is a package deal.  I.E. if you select fireworks as the default for JPG, then all the context menus are defined under the Fireworks.jpg Class created by the fireworks installer.  Also, for image type files (what file types are determined as "IMAGES" can also be adjusted via the registry, BTW) the file association is an amalgamation of the context items in the Application set File class AND the generic "SystemFileAssociations\image class entry.

    The trick we found was to do the following:
    1) Set the file type to the program you want to open for editing (in this case Fireworks) - preferably a non-Windows integrated app, this way if you mess it up you can simply re-install the application without have the nightmare of trying to fix "Windows"!
    2) Find the application class "TYPE" - this is the class definition for the application (i.e. Fireworks.jpg or PhotoViewer.FileAssoc.Jpeg) and HiJack the context menu's you want to change.  If there is an "Preview" or "Print" already then change these to the app you want to use.
    ** Notice you can add other context menu items here also and associate any way you want
    3) Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes\SystemFileAssociations\image and delete/any any of the associations you want there too.
    4) If you have other apps you sometimes, but rarely use for the file type, add additional Keys for them to the "OpenWithList" Key - this way they will appear on the fly-out "Open With" context menu item.

    ** Take care that some of the apps (like Windows Photo Gallery) require a REG_EXPAND_SZ default key value and some use REG_SZ type (like Photoshop and Fireworks, etc.).

    Here is the Fireworks reg entry we hijacked...

    We added the "Preview" context item from the Photo Gallery registry section, here...

    Finally, we cleaned up the duplicates in the "Image" generic file association...
    (Note: you could also keep/add the preview context setting here rather than the hijacked app section - this way it would apply to all image file types)

     

    • Edited by Cordeos Thursday, January 7, 2010 1:55 AM images still didnt work
    Thursday, January 7, 2010 1:51 AM
  • That worked for me on win 7 64. Thanks

    i think it's ridiculous that we have to do that to get the computer to edit the way we want. MS should have thought that through. Maybe asking too much
    Friday, March 12, 2010 12:03 AM
  • I have solved my problem, by wiping out the hard disk and reinstalling Windows all over again, and then spending a few days restoring 120GB of data and all the applications and their little configurations all over the place.  Luckily for me I had a week of lull that allowed me to run on one piston during this period.

    Thank you.

    • Proposed as answer by pal7373 Monday, May 14, 2012 2:57 PM
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 9:16 AM
  • I had the same problem and found the answer in a windows secrets newsletter (http://windowssecrets.com). They recommended

    http://www.creativelement.com/powertools/#download

    (freeware) It does the job and has many more tool features.

     
    Wednesday, January 19, 2011 6:24 PM
  • Hi,

     Go to my pictures, click on OPEN WITH instead of edit  and select open with paint and you will be able to open your picture in Microsoft paint and can perform open, edit, print, preview operations there.

    Thursday, January 20, 2011 6:05 PM
  • Use this tool:

    http://defaultprogramseditor.com/

    to edit the file associations.


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code" CLIP- Stellvertreter http://www.winvistaside.de/
    • Proposed as answer by Andre.Ziegler Thursday, January 20, 2011 9:00 PM
    Thursday, January 20, 2011 8:59 PM
  • Once again Microsoft comes up short.  Why can't they even keep what they've done right? 

    Thank you very much for the good solution. 

    Gah, this is officially my last PC. 

     

    Monday, August 29, 2011 12:27 AM
  • highlight any picture file.

    right click

    click open with

    click browse

    click program to use

    check 'always use for this type file'

    click ok

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:39 PM
  • This was mentioned earlier but on Windows 7 I was able to change the EDIT file association for .HTML / .HTM from MS Word ... back to my old tried and true Netscape Composer using

    Default Program Editor - http://defaultprogramseditor.com/

    I assume this will work for other file associations
    Monday, December 12, 2011 2:03 PM
  • Instead of messing with the registry editor, why don't you simply use "Default Programs"?

    You can find it under Control Panel - Programs.

    Sunday, June 3, 2012 11:25 AM
  • He HAS to mess with the registry settings, or install extra tools, because he wants to change the context menu defaults.  For example when you right-click on a file, besides OPEN, you may see EDIT or PRINT (or others) and those are the ones he wants to change, not the OPEN setting.

    On my system I have Adobe Reader X as the default, but also Adobe Acrobat 7 Standard.  When I open a file it comes up in Reader X, but when I want to Print or Fax a file, it annoying opens in the background using the old Acrobat 7, which isn't completely compatible with Win7 (asks me to activate every time).

    So, I' looking to change the association for PRINT, to reset it back to Adobe Reader X, as re-assigning the default didn't work for the PRINT function.

    My thanks to the people who suggested the programs for fixing/changing the associations, much abliged!

    Jim

    Thursday, June 7, 2012 8:29 PM
  • Still exists in vista. Altho I'm here because it stopped working! But I've used it for over 2 yrs. with no problem. When I right click the file, it used to show a preview of the file in the view pane on the right. Now nothing. Tried several different associations but won't work.
    Monday, December 17, 2012 5:35 AM