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How to set your default programs in Windows

By on November 27, 2012 | Last Updated: December 13, 2012 | Read 24,652 times.
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In Windows there are certain programs that are configured as the default one to use for certain tasks. Windows will then use these default programs when a person performs a particular action in Windows. For example, even if you have multiple web browsers installed in Windows, only one will be configured as the default. This default web browser will then be used whenever you perform a particular task in Windows that relates to web browsing such as clicking on links in emails or opening up HTML documents. This tutorial will walk you through configuring your default programs in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Though this tutorial will not cover setting your default programs in Windows XP, the concepts are the same.

To configure your default programs in Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can click on the Start button and type Set default programs. When the Set your default programs search result appears, please click on it. In Windows 8, type Set default programs from the Start Screen and then click on the Settings category. Then click on the Set your default programs search result. You should now see the Set Default Programs control panel screen.

 

Set Default Programs Control Panel

 

On this screen you will see a list of all the installed programs that can be configured as a default in Windows. Each program is configured to be able to handle certain default actions in Windows. When you select a particular program to be the default one for its type of program, you can either configure it to be the default for all related tasks or you can specify the specific items that you wish it to be the default.

The easiest way to select a program to be the default one for all related actions is to just click on the program name and then click on the Set this program as default button. For example, if Internet Explorer is currently configured as the default browser and we wish Chrome to become the default, we would click on the Google Chrome entry and then click on the Set this program as default button. All of the default actions that are related to web browsers will then be assigned to Google Chrome and Internet Explorer would no longer be used.

It is also possible to specify that a particular program will only be the default for certain actions. To pick and choose what actions you wish a particular program to be the default for you can click on a program and then click on the Choose defaults for this program button. This allows you to fine-tune exactly which programs you want to use for certain tasks. For example, if Internet Explorer is set to be your default browser, but you want Google Chrome to be used to open any locally saved HTML files, you would single click on the Google Chrome entry so it is highlighted and then select Choose defaults for this program. You will now be at the Set associations for a program screen.

 

Set associations for a program screen

 

On this screen you can select the specific actions that you wish this program be set to the default. As we want to make Google Chrome the default for opening .html documents, we would put a check mark next to the .htm and .html extensions and then press the Save button. Now Internet Explorer will still be configured as the default web browser, but when you double-click on a .html or .htm file, Google Chrome will open them instead.

As you can see, having the ability to customize what programs are the default for a particular action, or for all related actions, allows you to fine-tune exactly how you wish your programs to interact with Windows. This allows you to choose the programs that are best suited for your particular tasks or needs.

If you have any questions regarding these steps, please ask us in the Windows 8 Forum.

 

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