How to Change the Default App Settings in Windows 10

Have you ever installed an app and without your permission, the app made itself the default app for one or more file extensions? Not only is this frustrating and annoying, but it should also be criminal. Well, this guide will show you how to associate any file with any program to make it the default app again.

There are different options available to change the default app settings in Windows 10. We’re going to highlight several ways under Method 1, which focuses on the settings dialog and control panel as well as a 2nd Method, which uses the context menu in File Explorer (or any File Manager).

1. Method #1 – Settings Dialog and Control Panel

Click the Windows Key and the Settings Icon. Or, click the Cortana icon and type “Settings“. Next click “Apps“.

A window will open that displays Apps & Features, Default Apps, Offline Maps, and Apps for Websites. Click “Default Apps” to open the list of all apps associated with certain file extensions.


You’ll see a list of the most popular file extensions and the apps used to open them. Select the default app you’d like to change for a particular file or program type. A list of apps will be displayed, and you simply need to click the app you want to use, or you can locate an app in the Windows store.

choose-default-appsOther options are also available to set the default app.


1. You can reset all file associations to the Microsoft recommended defaults by click the “Reset” button.

2. You can “Choose default apps by file type” – if you choose this option, you’ll be presented with an exhaustive list of all known file types and all apps on your system.


3. You can “Choose default apps by protocol” – if you select this option, a list of all protocols will be presented along with apps associated with said protocols.


4. You can “Set defaults by app” – This option opens a Control Panel dialog box that you can use to associate file types with specific programs. Rather than selecting a file and then selecting the default app, this option displays a list of programs, a brief description of their function, and the option to set the program as default for supported file types and protocols, or you can manually choose the defaults for the selected program as well.


2. Method #2 – File Explorer or File Manager

Rather than using the Settings dialog in Windows 10, you can also use File Explorer or any File Manager. Once you open File Explorer, right-click the filename, and select “Properties” from the context menu. A dialog box will open that displays several tabs. Under the “General” tab, you’ll see “Open with:”. Click “Change“.


A new window will open that displays a list of programs that you can associate with that particular file based on the extension of the file. If you do not see an application that you want to set as the default program, you can either:

  1.  Select “more apps” to load additional apps that will work with the file.
  2.  Select “look for an app in the Store” to find apps in the Windows Store.
  3.  Select “look for another app on this computer” to locate apps on your local PC that you want to associate with the file.


After locating the app, you want to use, select the program and click “OK“.

Next, click “Apply” and then click “OK” on the properties dialog window. The new program you selected is now the default app to open files with that extension.

If the file is not currently associated with a specific program, you’ll see an option to:

Always use this app to open .yyy files.” (.yyy is for example purposes. The extension will be the extension of the file you selected.)


Check the box to permanently associate the file with the selected application and click “OK“. Click “Apply” and “OK” in the dialog box.

That’s it. From this point forward, all files will open with the selected default program.