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I have a number of files on my Windows 7 machine with .htm extensions. When I right click on these files I get a menu of options (Open/Edit/Print etc.) The EDIT option is currently mapped to Microsoft Word and I want to map it to Notepad.

I have tried right clicking on the file and selecting Open With/Choose default program but that only lets me set the program for the Open menu item not the Edit menu item. I have also tried Start/Default Programs/Associate a file type, but this also only lets me change the Open option.

Any ideas? I am sure I used to be able to do this in Windows XP.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

To change it without using 3rd party software:

Open Internet Explorer. Go to Tools > Internet Options. Select the Programs tab. Change the 'HTML Editing' option to whatever you want to use (e.g. Notepad).

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Talk about hiding the setting away where you won't find it. I would never have thought to look there in a million years. – Martin Brown Mar 16 '11 at 9:37
Apparently it works only with MS programs (Word, Notepad, Excel !?) – Liviu Jun 24 '13 at 12:16
By using this method, the only way to use a custom program (other than ms) is to go into HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Default HTML Editor\shell\edit\command and change the value for your favorite editor path – Thermech Oct 31 '13 at 15:40
I just used this to change the option (Word kept trying to open in Safe mode and failing anyway) and was pleasantly surprised to see TextPad in the available options. – stuartd Jun 25 '14 at 9:53
Another registry key that needs to change to use a custom program is: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Shared\HTML\Default Editor\shell\edit\command. This is the key windows explorer reads to open a html file with 'Edit'. – Thanasis Papoutsidakis Mar 9 at 11:53

Reccommending Default Programs Editor for this, because along with many other features, it was designed for Vista/Windows 7 and plays nice with UAC.

The context menu editor is quite powerful, allowing you to add or edit context menu items without hassle:

Context Menu Editor

Additionally, it allows you to remove that 'default programs' association that Windows won't let you un-check:

Uncheck default programs

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I second this one. I like how it integrates with the control panel, as well. – Uninspired Mar 16 '11 at 2:30

I've used FileTypesMan on several occasions and it has performed as expected (opening in its own window but performing the same task)

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the problem here is not file association, unless you want to associate Notepad as the default program to open all HTML files (rather than your web browser).

i recommend this method instead:

1. Enter the program's executable name (notepad.exe) as a subkey of these two registry key's shown below:


2. And add an "edit" subkey here:

Default = C:\WINDOWS\notepad.exe "%1"

3. To change the default editor, replace the "Default" entry in this registry key with the command line for your prefered editor:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Default HTML Editor]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Default HTML Editor\shell]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Default HTML Editor\shell\edit]
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Default HTML Editor\shell\edit\command]
Default = C:\WINDOWS\notepad.exe "%1"
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Creative Element Power Tools includes a File Type Doctor program that can do it...

alt text

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