Changing the Default Program for a File

by Barry Dysert
(last updated July 11, 2016)

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 displays the Open With dialog box. (See Figure 2.)

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

Note that I have scrolled the window down to the bottom to find WordPad listed. (If the program you want to use is not listed, click the Browse button to find it.) Now click the "WordPad" item and OK your way back to Windows. 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." ...

MORE FROM BARRY

How to Encrypt a File or Folder via NTFS

Windows 10 provides two ways to password protect files and folders. One way is to use the Zip utility, as discussed in a ...

Discover More

Changing Your Internet Home Page

Regardless of the browser you use, there's a way to change its settings so that you can specify where it goes when you ...

Discover More

Understanding Process Monitor

A very useful tool in diagnosing what is going on with processes and/or files is the Process Monitor tool from ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips

Moving Files or Folders

A common operation within Windows is to move files and folders from one location to another. Here are the two major ways ...

Discover More

Creating and Using Compressed Folders

If you're low on disk space but still want to keep your files online, you might consider moving them to compressed ...

Discover More

Changing the Program Associated with a File Type

Windows allows a great deal of flexibility in what programs it associates with different types of files. If you want to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one more than 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.