How to Change File Type Associations in Windows XP

In order to launch different file types, you need different programs designed for specific purposes. There are a number of programs developed to serve the same purpose. For instance, you cannot play .txt file on any media player. Meanwhile, you can use a number of media players to play an .MP3 file.

That is the reason why you see specific file types opening only in specific programs, as set by your operating system. If you want to set another program as default program, to launch a specific file type, then you can also change the file type associations of the particular file type.


  • 1

    Go to the “Start” menu by clicking on the bottom-left corner or just by pressing the “Window” key on your keyboard. Click the “My Computer” icon.

  • 2

    From the top of the My Computer window, you will have to click “Tools” and then select “Folder Options”. This will open a new window on your screen.

  • 3

    Now go to the “View” tab and scroll down until you find the "Hide extensions for known file types" under “Advanced Settings” section. If the box against the "Hide extensions for known file types" is checked, click on it to un-check. Click the “OK” button to close the “Folder Options” window.

  • 4

    You will now see the file extension with each file saved in your computer. In order to change the file type association, you need to right click any file with file extension you want to associate with your desired program. Select “Properties” and you will see the properties for the particular file opening in a new window.

  • 5

    The “Open with” section will show the current default program for the particular file type. To change it, click the “Change” button, and the “Open with” window will pop up on your screen.

  • 6

    You will now see some programs listed under “Recommended Programs” section. That list will include most of the programs that are designed to play your selected file type. You should consider selecting one of them.

  • 7

    If you do not want to use a program from the recommended list, then you can select from the “Other Programs” section, or you can locate the execution file of the program by clicking the “Browse” button.

  • 8

    After selecting your desired program, click “OK” and then “OK” again. You can now double click on any file with particular file extension, and it will always open in the selected program.

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