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How to Change File Associations

What is File Association
The term ‘File Association’ means which item is associated with which program. For example, an image on your computer may open with Windows Photo Viewer, and a text file may open with Notepad. More often than not, a single file may have the capability of opening with multiple programs. It is important that the right type of file is opened with the right program, otherwise it may not open successfully. For example, if you try to open an audio file with a photo viewer, you may get an error message stating you cannot do so. In this article, I will show you step-by-step how to set or change the file associations on your computer.

Changing the Associations
There are two ways you can change the file associations of your system. Before you start, you need to know that you may need to be logged in as an administrator to carry out the steps below.

  • The Shorter Way:

Step 1
Right click the file you want to change the associations of.
Step 2
In the menu that appears, scroll down to ‘Properties’, and click it.
Step 3
A window appears. In the ‘General’ tab, go to the portion where it says ‘Opens With:’. Here you will find the name of the program that it currently opens with. Click on ‘Change’.
Step 4
Another window appears. You will see a list of programs under the title ‘Recommended Programs’, which are, as the name implies, recommended to be used by the file. Select the one you want, and click on ‘OK’. If the program you need is not in the list, then click on ‘Browse’ and select it from your ‘Program Files’ folder.
Step 5
In the ‘Properties’ window, click on ‘Apply’ and then ‘OK’. Your file association has been changed.

  • The Longer Way:

Step 1
Click on ‘Start’, and then on ‘Control Panel’.
Step 2
In the search box on the top of the window, type in ‘Associations’. Now click on ‘Change the file type associated with a file extension’ under the sub-heading Folder Options’.
Step 3
Now wait a while for all your file types to load, this waiting time largely depend upon how many different programs you have installed in your system. When all the file types have loaded, scroll down the list and select the file type whose associations you want to change.
Step 4
Highlight the file type whose association you want the change, and then click on ‘Change Program’.
Step 5
A window appears. Select the program you want to use under the heading ‘Recommended Programs’, and click on ‘OK’. If the program you need is not in the list, then click on ‘Browse’ and select it from your ‘Program Files’ folder, and click on ‘OK’. Make sure the program you are selecting supports the opening of it.
Step 6
Now click on ‘Close’ to close the window and save your changes. Your file association has been changed.

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