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Win File association

Windows associates data files with applications so that the appropriate program launches automatically when the icon or name of the data file is clicked. For example, if a GIF image is associated with the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer, whenever a file with the .GIF extension is selected, the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer will launch and open that file.

This procedure simply saves a step. You can always launch the program first and then select which data files to open.

All major file types are listed and pre-associated with the applications that come with Windows, but you can choose another program to open them. If a particular file type is not in the list, you can enter it and then associate it.

Change Association This Time
Sometimes you may want to open a data file with a different program. To open a file by choosing the application, see Win Open With.

Change Association Permanently
To associate the same data files all the time to one program, do the following. If the program is not in the list, you must know the name of the executable program file (.EXE extension) and its folder location (path) on the hard disk (see Win folder organization).

Windows 7, 8.1 and 10
1. Start menu/Control Panel.
2. Select Default Programs.
3. Select Associate a file type or protocol...
4. Highlight a file type and select Change Program.

Windows XP
1. Launch Explorer.
2. Select Tools/Folder Options/File Types.
3. Scroll down to the file type you want
and click the line.
4. Click Advanced.
5. Under Actions, double click "open."
6. Edit the contents of
"Application used to perform action:"
either by typing in a new path or
selecting Browse, locating and double
clicking the .EXE file.

File Associations in Windows Vista, 7 and 8
Windows Vista, 7 and 8 are more helpful than previous Windows versions, because they describe both the file and the program.

File Associations in XP
The XP dialog does not describe the purpose of the file type.

Creating Brand New Associations
You can associate an application with a file type that has not been opened or associated before.

Windows 7, 8.1 and 10
1. Launch Explorer.
2. Right click the file you want to associate
and select Properties.
3. Select Change on Opens With line.
4. Select a program from a list.

Windows XP
1. Launch Explorer.
2. Select Tools/Folder Options/File Types.
3. Click New.
4. Type the file extension into
"File Extension."
5. Click OK.
6. Click Advanced, then New.
7. Type open into the "Action" field.
8. Type in the path of the .EXE file in
"Application used to perform action."
either by typing in a new path or
selecting Browse, locating and double
clicking the .EXE file.

Personal Use Only

Before/After Your Search Term
Win Copy between windowsWin File Explorer
Win Copy/move files/foldersWin File extensions
Win Create new folderWin File Manager
Win Desktop searchWin File menu
Win Device ManagerWin File names
Win Dial-up NetworkingWin File Open
Win Display settingsWin File Open multiple files
Win Drag and dropWin File organization
Win Entering special charactersWin File types
Win ExplorerWin Finding files

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