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How to change default programs inside of Windows 11

Have you ever downloaded and installed a program in Windows 11 only to find out that it is not set as the default program for a specific type of file? If so, here is how to change default programs inside of Windows 11.

How to change default programs inside of Windows 11

With Windows 11, you have three (3) different ways to change default programs: By app, file type, or link type. You can also reset all programs back to their default settings, but that is usually not a very good option.

I like to change all of the files a program can open by changing the defaults for that particular program. But there are times when you might just want to change the default program a file extension opens with.

Note: Windows 11 has been known to change the default programs back to the original defaults after applying Feature updates, so try and remember what programs you have opening what file types.

How to change the default apps inside of Windows 11

Changing the default apps in Windows 11 Settings

The default app settings are located in the sub-menu of the Apps section inside of the Settings program. There are several ways to get to the Settings program in Windows 11, and here are the four (4) most common ways to get there.

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo key button to bring up the Start menu.
  2. In the list of pinned apps on the Start menu, left-click on Settings.
  3. Scroll down the left-hand column and left-click on Apps.

or

  1. Right-click on the Start button Windows logo to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. Left-click on System.
  3. Scroll down the left-hand column and left-click on Apps.

or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + X to bring up the Power User menu.
  2. Press the letter Y to select System.
  3. Scroll down the left-hand column and left-click on Apps.

or

  1. Press the Windows logo key Windows logo key + I.
  2. Scroll down the left-hand column and left-click on Apps.

Now you should have the Settings program open to the Apps sub-menu. In the right-hand column, left-click on Default apps. This will bring up a list of installed programs.

Now the easiest way to change the defaults for a program is to scroll down the list of programs until you find the app you want to change the defaults for. If you left-click on that app, you will be presented with a list of all the file extensions that the program can open.

Left-click on the file type or link type, select the program you would like to open that file type, and then left-click on OK. That program will now be used to open that particular file or link type from now on.

You can also change the defaults for a particular file or link type. Just scroll all the way down the right-hand column under Apps > Default apps to the bottom. There you will find three (3) buttons: Choose defaults by file type, Choose defaults by link type and Reset all default apps.

How to change default programs in Windows 10

Updated August 8, 2020

The default programs that Windows 10 uses to open different file types are pretty good right from the start. But maybe you'd like to change what program opens music or photos? Here's how to change the default applications in Windows 10.

How to change default programs in Windows 10

As with previous versions of Windows, there can be multiple programs that can open the same type of file. Some are UWP (Universal Windows Platform), and some are standard Desktop programs. And then there are the programs you may install yourself. Knowing how to change the default programs in Windows 10 is essential since Windows 10 is prone to reset default programs when performing a Feature update.

How to change the default apps in Windows 10 Settings

  1. Left-click on the Start Windows logo button.
  2. Left-click on Settings (the gear icon).
  3. Left-click on Apps.
  4. In the left-hand column, left-click on Default apps.

Changing the default apps in Windows 10 Settings

The six (6) most common apps are listed at the top of the right-hand column. They are Email, Maps, Music player, Photo viewer, Video player, and Web browser. You will find three more advanced ways of modifying the default applications on the bottom of the right-hand column.

  • Choose default apps by type
    Warning! By choosing the wrong application for specific file types, you can make your system unusable. This method of setting the default program requires you to know the extension of the object you want to open. Be sure of the file extension before making any changes. When in doubt, use the Set defaults by app settings.
  • Choose default apps by protocol
    Warning! By choosing the wrong application for specific protocols, you can make your system unusable. This method of setting the default program requires you to know the protocol of the object you want to open. Be sure of the protocol before making any changes. When in doubt, use the Set defaults by app settings.
  • Set defaults by app
    When you choose this option, you are presented with a list of installed programs, and you can select what each one does or does not do. You can set an application to open all types of files it can or choose which types of files to open with that particular program.

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