Apps Choose Default Apps in Windows 11

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Default_app_banner.png

A default app is the program that Windows has assigned to open a file or link type with by default when you open it.

Default apps you choose will only apply to your account and will not affect other accounts on the PC.

This tutorial will show you different ways to set default apps used to open file and link types for your account in Windows 11.


Contents

  • Option One: Choose Default App for File Type in "Open with" Context Menu
  • Option Two: Choose Default App for File Type in File Properties
  • Option Three: Choose Defaults by Apps in Settings
  • Option Four: Choose Defaults by File Type in Settings
  • Option Five: Choose Defaults by Link Type in Settings





OPTION ONE

Choose Default App for File Type in "Open with" Context Menu


1 Right click or press and hold on a file, click/tap on Open with, and click/tap on Choose another app. (see screenshots below)

If the file does not have a default app assigned to it (aka: unassociated), you will only have Open with available in the context menu.


Choose_default_app_Open_with-1.png
Choose_default_app_Open_with-2.png

2 Check the Always use this app to open <file type> files box. (see screenshots below step 4)

If you do not check Always use this app to open <file type> files, the app you choose to open the file with will not be set as the default app.


3 Click/tap on the More apps link. (see screenshots below step 4)

4 Perform one of the following actions to select an app: (see screenshots below)

If this file type has a default app currently assigned to it, the default app (ex: "Notepad") will show under Keep using this app.


  • Select a listed app, and click/tap on OK
  • Click/tap on Look for an app in the Microsoft Store to install an app from the Microsoft Store and set it as the default app.
  • Click/tap on the Look for another app on this PC link, browse to and select an app (.exe, .pif, .com, .bat, or .cmd), and click/tap on Open.
Choose_default_app_and_open-1.png
Choose_default_app_and_open-2.png
Choose_default_app_and_open-3.png

5 The file will now open with the selected default app.





OPTION TWO

Choose Default App for File Type in File Properties


1 Right click or press and hold on a file, and click/tap on Properties. (see screenshot below)

Choose_default_app_Properties-1.png

2 In the General tab on the Properties page, click/tap on the Change button to the right of Opens with. (see screenshot below)

If this file type has a default app currently assigned to it, the default app (ex: "Notepad") will show to the right of Opens with.


Choose_default_app_Properties-2.png

3 Click/tap on the More apps link. (see screenshots below step 4)

4 Perform one of the following actions to select an app: (see screenshots below)

If this file type has a default app currently assigned to it, the default app (ex: "Notepad") will show under Keep using this app.


  • Select a listed app, and click/tap on OK
  • Click/tap on Look for an app in the Microsoft Store to install an app from the Microsoft Store and set it as the default app.
  • Click/tap on the Look for another app on this PC link, browse to and select an app (.exe, .pif, .com, .bat, or .cmd), and click/tap on Open.
Choose_default_app-1.png
Choose_default_app-2.png
Choose_default_app-3.png






OPTION THREE

Choose Defaults by Apps in Settings


1 Open Settings (Win+I).

2 Click/tap on Apps on the left side, and click/tap on Default apps on the right side. (see screenshot below)

Settings_Default_apps.png

3 Search or scroll for the app (ex: "Notepad") you want to choose defaults for, and click/tap on the app (ex: "Notepad"). (see screenshots below)

Choose_defaults_by_app-1.png
Choose_defaults_by_app-2.png

4 Click/tap on the file or link type (ex: ".txt") you want to set a default app for. (see screenshot below)

The current default app (ex: "Notepad") for a file or link type will show under the file or link type.


Choose_defaults_by_app-3.png

5 Click/tap on the More apps link. (see screenshots below step 6)

6 Perform one of the following actions to select an app: (see screenshots below)

If this file type has a default app currently assigned to it, the default app (ex: "Notepad") will show under Keep using this app.


  • Select a listed app, and click/tap on OK
  • Click/tap on Look for an app in the Microsoft Store to install an app from the Microsoft Store and set it as the default app.
  • Click/tap on the Look for another app on this PC link, browse to and select an app (.exe, .pif, .com, .bat, or .cmd), and click/tap on Open.
Choose_default_app-1.png
Choose_default_app-2.png
Choose_default_app-3.png

7 When finished, you can close Settings if you like.





OPTION FOUR

Choose Defaults by File Type in Settings


1 Open Settings (Win+I).

2 Click/tap on Apps on the left side, and click/tap on Default apps on the right side. (see screenshot below)

Settings_Default_apps.png

3 Click/tap on Choose defaults by file type towards the bottom of the right side. (see screenshot below)

Choose_defaults_by_file_type-1.png

4 Search or scroll for a file type (ex: ".txt") you want to choose defaults for, and click/tap on the file type (ex: ".txt"). (see screenshots below)

The current default app (ex: "Notepad") for a file type will show under the file type.


Choose_defaults_by_file_type-2.png
Choose_defaults_by_file_type-3.png

5 Click/tap on the More apps link. (see screenshots below step 6)

6 Perform one of the following actions to select an app: (see screenshots below)

If this file type has a default app currently assigned to it, the default app (ex: "Notepad") will show under Keep using this app.


  • Select a listed app, and click/tap on OK
  • Click/tap on Look for an app in the Microsoft Store to install an app from the Microsoft Store and set it as the default app.
  • Click/tap on the Look for another app on this PC link, browse to and select an app (.exe, .pif, .com, .bat, or .cmd), and click/tap on Open.
Choose_default_app-1.png
Choose_default_app-2.png
Choose_default_app-3.png

7 When finished, you can close Settings if you like.





OPTION FIVE

Choose Defaults by Link Type in Settings


1 Open Settings (Win+I).

2 Click/tap on Apps on the left side, and click/tap on Default apps on the right side. (see screenshot below)

Settings_Default_apps.png

3 Click/tap on Choose defaults by link type towards the bottom of the right side. (see screenshot below)

Choose_defaults_by_link_type-1.png

4 Search or scroll for a link type (ex: "MAILTO") you want to choose defaults for, and click/tap on the link type (ex: "MAILTO"). (see screenshots below)

The current default app (ex: "Mail") for a file type will show under the file type.


Choose_defaults_by_link_type-2.png
Choose_defaults_by_link_type-3.png

5 Perform one of the following actions to select an app: (see screenshots below)

If this file type has a default app currently assigned to it, the default app (ex: "Mail") will show under Keep using this app.


  • Select a listed app, and click/tap on OK
  • Click/tap on Look for an app in the Microsoft Store to install an app from the Microsoft Store and set it as the default app.
Choose_defaults_by_link_type-4.png
Choose_defaults_by_link_type-5.png

6 When finished, you can close Settings if you like.


That's it,
Shawn Brink
 

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Edwin

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That's a helluva lot of hoops to jump through!
Why the heck not set an app as default for all protocols it can handle in one click?
 

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Drybonz

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I was just thinking that it seems like they have gradually been making it harder to change default apps. It used to be you went in to the program and clicked a button to change it to the default and you were done.
 

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iko22

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Option 2, Step 3 "Click/tap on the Moore apps link. (see screenshots below step 4)" - I'm sure that is supposed to read "More apps".
 

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iko22

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I like Option Four "Choose Defaults by File Type in Settings", that's new in Windows 11 and it is a great location to have the option.
 

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jbcarreon123

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@Brink,
5 Click/tap on the Moore apps link. (see screenshots below step 6)
 

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Brink

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Option 2, Step 3 "Click/tap on the Moore apps link. (see screenshots below step 4)" - I'm sure that is supposed to read "More apps".
(y)
 

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takysoft

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Awesome description.
And what can I do, when these steps don't work?

I can set default apps for most extensions.... but not for video files for some reason...

If I Right on an mkv or mp4 file, and choose to open it with something else, the option to "always use that app" is missing.
If I right click and select Properties, de option to choose a default app is missing for mkv and mp4 files.
If I open the default app ooptions for VLC, mkv and mp4 are missing from the list.
If I try to add mp4 or mkv extensions for the other setting, the "add" button is greyed out.

Mostly only for video files..
The rest seem to work.
Anybody? Any answer?

Examples
1.jpg
1a.jpg

For the jpg file, the button is there.

2.jpg
2a.jpg

For the mp4 file, the "always use this app" is missing.


3.jpg
3a.jpg

For jpg, the app is selectable, for mp4, the buton is greyed out.

Sorry for the hungarian images, but the language should not be important here.
 

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Quandary

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Click Win key, enter Default apps, enter Film in the "Set defaults for applications". Expand the Films & TV, and scroll to the extension you want to change......
 

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takysoft

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Awesome description.
And what can I do, when these steps don't work?

I got it actually. I though I'll share it in case someone would need it.
For some reason Windows 11 has some preconfigured apps "buggy", and you need to reset them. (in my case picture viewer, video and music player)

Open a Powershell(preferably in admin, I only tried in admin), and enter these command:

Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Photos -AllUsers | Reset-AppxPackage Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.ZuneVideo -AllUsers | Reset-AppxPackage Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.ZuneMusic -AllUsers | Reset-AppxPackage

No restart needed. The abovementioned methods should work after this :)
 

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