Changing the Default Program for a File

Written by Barry Dysert (last updated September 7, 2020)

One of the interesting things about Windows is that a file's "type" determines what program is used to open that file. For example, .txt files are, by default, opened with Notepad. If you have Microsoft Office installed, .docx files are opened with Microsoft Word, etc. You may come across an occasion where you want to change what program is used for a particular file type.

Let's say that you have text files with a ".log" extension, and you want to have them open with WordPad. Right-click on a .log file and select "Properties" from the resulting Context menu. Windows displays the Properties dialog box for the file. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The Properties dialog box for a .log file.

To designate WordPad as the program that will open .log files, click the Change button. Windows asks "How do you want to open .log files from now on?" Click on the More Apps link. Windows displays a list of apps you can choose from. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Choosing the program that will open .log files.

Scroll down to the bottom of the window to find WordPad listed. (If the program you want to use is not listed, click the "Look for another app on this PC" link to find it.) Now click the "WordPad" item and OK. From now on (unless it's changed), WordPad will be the program used to open all your .log files.

 This tip (11819) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

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