Everyone has a list of their favorite apps to use. Although Windows 11 offers dedicated apps to accomplish various tasks, you might want to upgrade to a better or more familiar alternative. You may want certain file types to open in a application or program. Fortunately, Microsoft offers several ways to change the default file association in Windows.
If you have multiple apps installed that do the same thing, you might want to make sure your favorite app is set as the default choice. Let’s see how you can make it happen.
1. Change Default Apps from Settings
The easiest way to change default apps on Windows is to use the Settings app. You can change file associations per application or set defaults per file type or link type. Either way, it’s pretty simple to do. Read on to find out how.
Set default by apps
Step 1: Open the Start menu and click the cog icon to launch the Settings app.
2nd step: Use the left pane to navigate to the Applications tab and click Default Applications on your right.
Step 3: Under ‘Set defaults for apps’, you’ll see a list of apps.
Step 4: Scroll down and click on an app to view a list of file types associated with it.
Step 5: Select the file type for which you want to change the default application.
Step 6: Choose a new application from the menu that appears and click OK to save the changes.
Set defaults by file type or link type
The Settings app also lets you set default apps by file type or link type. This can be handy if you want to change the default app for different file formats at once. Here’s how.
Step 1: Press Windows Key + I to launch the Settings app. Switch to the Applications tab and click Default Applications.
2nd step: Use the search bar under “Set a default for a file type or link type” to search for a specific file extension. For example, if you are looking to change the default application for MP3 files, search for “.mp3”.
Step 3: Click the current default application for the file type.
Step 4: Select the application you want to use for the file type and press OK.
Similarly, you can repeat the above steps to change the default apps associated with any file format.
If the menu doesn’t show any apps, click “Find an app in the Microsoft Store” and click OK.
Windows will open Microsoft Store and show you all the apps compatible with the file format. You can download an app from the Microsoft Store and follow the steps mentioned above to set it as your default program.
2. Change default apps from file properties
If you are just looking to change the default application for a few particular file types (mostly media files), you can quickly make the change from the file properties. Here’s how.
Step 1: Navigate to the file for which you want to change the default application. Right-click on it and select Properties.
2nd step: Under the General tab, click the Edit button.
Step 3: Select a new default application for this particular file type and click OK.
Step 4: Finally, hit Apply to save the changes.
And that’s about it. This should change the default application for every file in the same format.
Bonus: Reset Default Apps on Windows 11
If a recent installation of an app or program messed up the default apps for a few file types or you’re looking to start from scratch, changing the default apps for each file type can be tedious. Luckily, the Settings app also gives you the option to reset default apps on Windows 11. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Right-click on the Start menu and select Settings from the list.
2nd step: On the Applications tab, click Default Applications.
Step 3: Scroll to the end of the page and tap the Reset button next to “Reset all apps to default”.
Step 4: Press OK to continue.
And you are good to go. Windows will reset default apps for all file types.
The default choice
Whether you want to change the default browser to Chrome or have all your videos play in VLC media player, changing default apps on Windows 11 is quick and easy.
After setting your preferred default apps, consider preventing unwanted apps from running in the background to free up system resources on your PC.