Setting Default Programs in Windows 8.1

Before you start

Objectives: Learn where and how to configure default programs for specific file types in Windows 8.1.

Prerequisites: no prerequisites.

Key terms: file type, configuration, Windows 8.1


 Default Programs

Windows 8.1 has default programs set that will launch when we double-click a file with a certain extension. For example, double-clicking a file that ends with .avi extension will open up in our video app, file with .mp3 will open up in our music app, etc.  But how do we change those defaults?

Changing Defaults

On the Windows 8.1 start screen we can start typing “Default programs”. This will open the search tool, and will try to find an app or setting with that name.

 1 Search Default Programs

Search for Default Programs

Wen we click it,  it will open the Default Programs window in the desktop environment.

 2 Default Programs Window

Default Programs Window

From here we can choose the “Set your default programs” option. In this windows we are actually setting the overall default programs. For example, if we select a Photos app,  we see that currently it has 18 out of 43 defaults.

 3 Photos App Selected

Defaults for Selected App

So, on this window we can select an app and then make it default. If we choose the “Set this program as default”, it will open all the file types and protocols that can be used in the selected program. We can also choose specific file types for the selected program by clicking on the “Choose defaults for this program” option.

 4 File Types For App

Associations for a Program

We can also go in another direction. We can choose a default app for specific file type. To do that we can go back to Default Programs console, and choose the “Associate a file type or protocol with a program option”.

 5 File Association

Associate a File Type Option

In this window we will see a list of file types and their current default program.

 6 List Of File Types

List of File Types

To change a default program, we simply select the file type and then click on the “Change program…” button. We will get a list of available options.

 7 Available Options

Available Options

This way we  don’t set one app for all file types it supports, but specifically set an app for specific file type.

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