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Using the java.awt.Desktop class in an application, I noticed that you can call various actions on files. It's possible to both call an edit - and open action on, say html files, which in theory then would get the default application for this file and action.

This is a nice feature, as I want a browser to open my html files, but a text editor to edit html files. But this does not seem to be implemented in any OS I've come across.

In which operational system is it actually possible to select different programs for open and edit actions?

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Many operating systems allow you to open a file for read-only vs read/write. A few have multiple concepts of read/write access. Eg, some actions cause a file to be automatically "versioned" (and sometimes the changes only kept as a "delta" vs a new file image). There is more to computing than Windows. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 27 '14 at 11:38
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Windows 7 allows for this feature, which made its début on Windows XP SP3. The GUI is no longer visible to allow for changing the behavior differences, but you can edit it via tools that modify the registry.

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