Vista: Associate a File Type with a Specific Program

Previous versions of Windows had an easy way of accessing a list of file types and what program they were associated with. Vista also allows you to do this, but it takes a little hunting before you can find it.


In Windows XP, you would click View and select Folder Options. From there you select the File Types tab.

In Vista, if you follow those same steps, you will notice that there is no File Types tab.

To access the Set Associations window, follow these steps:

1. Click the Start button.

2. Select Control Panel.

3. Select Programs.

4. Under Default Programs, select Make a file type always open in a specific program.

The Set Associations window will appear, allowing you to change what program a file type is associated with by selecting the file type and clicking the Change program button.

If you are only looking to change a single file type, simply right-click on a file and select Properties. Under the General tab, click the Change button to select the desired program.

 

About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
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25 Responses to “Vista: Associate a File Type with a Specific Program”

  1. December 01, 2008 at 12:31 pm, May said:

    Thanks, this so helpful to me :) Vista so different

    Reply

  2. December 11, 2008 at 5:23 am, pockets said:

    I did this and I still can’t see a psp file through Windows Explorer.

    Reply

  3. December 15, 2008 at 11:37 am, idgaf said:

    HOW DO U FIGURE OUT WHAT TYPE OF FREAKING FILE TYPE NEEDS TO BE ASSOCIATED OR WHATEVER WINDOWS IS LIKE REDIC EVEN IN VISTA IT HAPPENS SO OFTEN I CANT CLICK ON THINGS MY SIDEBAR SEARCH OPENS UP LIKE THE NEXT BUTTON TO PAGE TWO. ITS SO REDIC IT NEVER TELLS U WHAT ASSOCIATION. THEY SHOULD FIX THAT JEEZE. IM CLUELESS THERE IS LIKE HUNDREDS OR WHATEVER. HOW AM I SUPOSED TO KNOW? AND LIKE UNKNOWN PROGRAM? WTF! OKAY. DOES THAT MEAN NO PROGRAM? CAUSE LIKE IF SO… IT SHOULD SAY NO ASSOCIATION. IM NOT GONNA SCROLL THREW SO MANEEE AND LIKE FIGURE OUT WELL IT HAS TO BE ONE OF THESE 60 OR SO EXT WITH “UNKNOWN PROGRAM”

    ITS NOT GONNA GET ME ANYWHERE. WHERE ARE THE FREAKING HELPSITES SEARCH COMES UP WITH LIKE NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!im so angry.

    Reply

    • December 15, 2008 at 1:25 pm, Rob Rogers said:

      You can look up the file extension at http://filext.com/ and find out what kind of file it is and what program is needed to use the file.

      Reply

  4. February 26, 2009 at 4:13 pm, nick said:

    omg that was totally helpful!!! thanx u whoever wrote thsi!!!

    Reply

  5. March 01, 2009 at 10:06 pm, Glenny said:

    4 some reason i can’t find .exe and now i can’t run any programs! does n e 1 know what it might b under! Thanks

    Reply

  6. June 12, 2009 at 3:20 am, Ted said:

    Don’t know what version of Vista you are using, but in Control Panel, all I see is “Programs and Features” and their is no “Default Programs” option there.

    Reply

    • July 20, 2009 at 4:51 am, Kate L said:

      Same here. I’m using 64-bit Vista Home edition.

      Reply

      • July 20, 2009 at 4:53 am, Kate L said:

        Found it. In Control Panel, instead of clicking “Programs and Features,” look for “Default Programs.” Intuitively you’d think both features would be in one place, but this is Microsoft.

        Reply

        • January 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm, Chriswmaine said:

          Thank you!!! Crazy stuff.

          Reply

  7. June 13, 2009 at 8:58 pm, fook ayoo said:

    this only works if the filetype is already associated, or recognized by the system, if it’s not, you are shit out of luck unless you are a registry editing guru. Do yourself a favor, and ” UPGRADE ” to windows XP, or Linux, and wait for windows 7 to come out of beta. Vista == the New WinME

    Reply

    • January 05, 2010 at 6:46 pm, Anonymous said:

      Duh…
      You just double click to file with new extension and select “Select a program from a list of installed programs”.
      It is so obvious and easy…

      Reply

  8. August 06, 2009 at 6:16 pm, Anonymous said:

    how do u make a association for assaultcube when i try to open it it says i have to make a association for it and i dont know how to do it

    Reply

  9. October 17, 2009 at 4:54 pm, mickey said:

    i can not open attachments send to my email.
    i have followed all the steps suggested but get lost at last step, i have no idea what file type to choose and what to change it to.help!

    Reply

    • June 06, 2012 at 4:17 am, Henry said:

      > Mickey

      I happened to encounter the same problem after which I mess around with the control panel, default program a little bit and I found the solution.

      Go to Set default program

      click on your browser e.g internet explorer, chrome or firefox

      click on set this program as default.

      I do not know if you still need this piece of information but I suggest it alway good to share and in case someone might need it.

      Reply

  10. November 09, 2009 at 9:14 pm, edgars said:

    why it`s shoud take little hunting to get some association fils,i thing it`s stupid,they shoud make it easiest way for everybody,i mean i like microsoft product,but they shoud make product as easy as possible for consumers.i didn`t try windows 7 yet,but i hope there is everything much easy….

    Reply

  11. December 23, 2009 at 7:54 am, Ria said:

    I tried everything but the file extension that I look for is not listed.
    It is T5K and I can’t find any program to open it with.
    Please Help

    Reply

  12. December 23, 2009 at 5:28 pm, Anonymous said:

    how do i set the program to nothing

    Reply

  13. March 10, 2010 at 10:17 pm, alexx said:

    how do you create an association in the association control panel?

    Reply

  14. March 27, 2010 at 4:28 pm, david said:

    I was hit with the ave.exe virus and it appears to have trashed the file associations to .exe files.

    I’m trying to re-associate exe files to the correct file type association. (I can run some ,but not all, exe programs with run as administrator, but can’t run them directly.)

    What windows program do I choose when I associate a file type of exe?

    And how do I do it? (regedt32.exe is one of the programs I can’t run using the run as trick. :( )

    Reply

    • April 29, 2010 at 11:45 pm, Jon said:

      same problem with me. Did you get any answers?

      Reply

      • April 30, 2010 at 1:27 am, david said:

        I found a way to fix the problem, but not what I asked for above.

        My system had some benchmarks ( not quite the right term but I forget the right one :( ) , it’s part of the operating system as windows updates are applied, etc., and I just restored back to the last one, which happened to be from the night before. Problem solved.

        Sorry not to give more detail, it’s been a month.

        Reply

  15. July 22, 2010 at 3:27 am, Qmtb Uk said:

    All I wish to know is how do i add this file PICCLP32,OCX that is missing from download software

    Reply

  16. October 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm, Wercs said:

    I had a similar problem where the program I wanted to associate with a file type would not show up in the dialogue box of options. I eventually tracked it down to an error in the path pointing to the program I wanted, located in the HKEY_USERS / Applications section of the registry. Once the path was corrected the program was available to select.

    Reply

  17. December 24, 2010 at 3:46 pm, Lonestar316 said:

    help help help i keep getting this message THIS FILE DOES NOT HAVE A PROGRAM ASSOCIATED WITH IT FOR PERFORMING THIS TASK CREATE AN ASSOCUIATION IN SET ASSOCIATION CONTROL PANEL IVE DONE THE DEFAULT PROGRAM THING BUT DONT KNOW WHICH TO CHANGE PLEASE HELP

    Reply

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