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In windows 7 how can I change the application that opens a the files of a specific file extension without changing anything else about the file type i.e.:

  • I don't want the current icon to be changed for that extension.
  • I don't want the current display name of the file type to be changed for that extension.
  • I don't want the all the extension that are opened with the same application to be merged into the same file type.
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can use something like FileTypesMan to accomplish this.

  1. Select the file type/extension you want to edit:

    enter image description here

  2. Right-click it and save all details to a text file for future reference (if you want to revert)

  3. Select all the Actions shown for that file type in the bottom pane, right-click and save the details to a text file as well

  4. Now from the bottom pane edit the open action (via right-click/context menu or F3) and modify the Command-Line as required to launch an alternate viewer/editor:

    enter image description here

  5. Similarly edit other actions as required

  6. Next edit the selected file type from the top pane (via right-click/context menu or F2) and ensure the Description, Default Icon etc. are unaffected and remain the same as before:

    enter image description here

  7. Exit FileTypesMan, log off and log back in or reboot as required, then test your changes

Of course you can do all this from the registry as well, but this utility just makes it easier (and likely safer too). :)

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I don't know about the icon displayed, but for everything else: Make a copy of that file with a extension of your creation (something not being used). That file will then not be recognized by windows, you can double click on it, or hold shift and right click on it, choose open with, then choose the program you wish to use to open that file.

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That works for a few files at best, but what if you have lots? Also, changing the extension might mean the alternate app may not even recognise the files anymore. Plus of course he would need to change the icon and display name for the new extension. – Karan Oct 25 '12 at 3:46
"Plus of course he would need to change the icon and display name for the new extension" I know that, that's why i wrote "I don't know about the icon displayed" "Also, changing the extension might mean the alternate app may not even recognize the files anymore" That's why i said "Make a copy of that file" Don't worry @Karan, you had a great answer, i was just making a suggestion in case he hadn't though of this. Cheers! – riseagainst Oct 25 '12 at 12:30
I wasn't worried about which answer was great, but simply thinking through the possible problems with your suggestion. What I meant was, say the original file was File.ABC, and as per your idea it was copied and changed to File.XYZ. Now .XYZ is a new unknown extension that would need to be associated with the program. I have come across programs that check the extension and reject files with incorrect ones. If the program had this issue, it would reject File.XYZ because it only recognised .ABC files. That's the possible issue I was alluding to. Get my point? – Karan Oct 25 '12 at 18:16
Well, he should make sure he uses something unusual. But yes, i get your point! I wish people would let us know why they're asking such questions though, just makes you curious. – riseagainst Oct 25 '12 at 18:50

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