47

Since the fall update last month, Windows 10 automatically keeps changing the default apps for certain types (mostly browser,pdf,mp3,jpg). I have tried changing them back from the Settings app as well as the Control Panel.

I have observed that this happens mostly while unzipping files using WinZip. Windows changes the default programs back to Microsoft recommended programs such as Edge, Photos, Groove etc.

Is there a way to restrict this from happening? Has anybody else encountered a similar situation? I couldn't find similar question anywhere so I'm asking this here.

  • Has this happened more then once since you install Version 1511 update? That is the only time it happen to me, took less then a minute, to set my configuration back though and it only happened because of the way I installed the update. – Ramhound Jan 5 '16 at 13:17
  • 1
    @Ramhound: yes this has happened quite a number of times which is why i'm seeking some solution to it. it gets frustrating. – kp91 Jan 5 '16 at 13:19
  • See also here. – Paolo Gibellini May 25 '16 at 21:05
  • I suggest running "ASSOC" and "FTYPE". Output to a text file. Then, if changes do get made, you can easily look up older changes. You can also make a batch file to easily manually fix changes that seem to break the most, or which you simply care about the most. – TOOGAM Jun 11 '16 at 6:07
14

I've had this problem frequently but randomly. I was finally able to track down one set of triggers for the issue, but not a direct fix... only hackish, partial workarounds.


Workaround:

For example, "Groove" or "Movies & TV" will try to grab the associations of music and video formats. The only solution I have found is to uninstall these seemingly uninstallable programs.

http://www.howtogeek.com/224798/how-to-uninstall-windows-10s-built-in-apps-and-how-to-reinstall-them/

The above article describes how to use (admin)Power Shell to temporarily uninstall some Microsoft installed apps.

For example:

Get-AppxPackage *zunemusic* | Remove-AppxPackage

or

Get-AppxPackage *zunevideo* | Remove-AppxPackage

After uninstalling these apps, Windows 10 has never tried to re-take these file associations. I was half expecting it to try regardless and break the associations completely, but was fortunate.

Unfortunately this will not fix all of these problems. PDFs will continue to revert to Microsoft Edge because it cannot be uninstalled by this method.


Trigger cause:

I was able to track down a trigger that causes this to one of my programs. Though I'm not certain that it is the only one that does it as it only causes some associations to change. So more likely it is certain actions that the program causes sets up the first trigger; and another program completes the trigger sequence.

According to procmon, it does some registry snooping with file associations. The second trigger is to open a program that is associated with a file type that often reverts. That second program also snoops at file associations according to procmon.

What I imagine happens is that the first program does something to corrupt the "protection" Windows 10 has for programs changing file associations. Opening the second program causes Windows to re-check its protection and when the hash/progid ends up being invalid, it gets reverted to Microsoft defaults.

For example, I can see an old version of PhotoShop and Firefox doing this. They both look at the key

HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.pdf\UserChoice

Program 1 messes up the hash/progid somehow, Program 2 which is associated with the type makes Windows re-check it and revert it. I'm a little mystified as to why it's deemed corrupted to begin with because the file association is correct before and after Program 1 does its thing. The association wasn't hijacked, so it didn't need Microsoft's overreach to begin with.

Not all of my systems have the same programs installed, so I'm guessing there may be many esoteric old programs that cause the first trigger event. Aside from my original workaround above, I guess you could be mindful using the offending programs. (shrug)

  • Can you specify what you did to identify the trigger cause? Did you use any specific program or application? – Ayusman Sep 26 '17 at 6:05
  • @Ayusman I mentioned above, I used Procmon from Sysinternals/Microsoft. I probably had it filter to the programs in question and also if the "path" had 'pdf' in it. – jljtgr Sep 29 '17 at 0:14
  • This is not an answer to the issue. I’m not sure why it has gotten so many upvotes. – Appleoddity Nov 13 '18 at 2:40
9

An explanation and solution is given at ghacks.

You can either use Stop Resetting My Apps which was developed to stop this resetting

Stop Resetting My Apps

or modify the registry by hand.

So, here is what you need to do for that if you prefer the manual way:

  1. Tap on the Windows-key, type regedit.exe and hit the Enter-key. This opens the Windows Registry Editor. If you can, open a second Registry window for easier handling of the following operations.
  2. Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppModel\Repository\Packages
  3. Locate the application you want to block from being the default, and open App\Capabilities\FileAssociations there. This displays the list of file associations of that particular application.
  4. Take note of the value in Data, it looks like a long random string: AppXsq3757nydv3f9bx6862hv0t4z7ennqqd
  5. Please note that this string may be different for any of the file types or protocols listed there.
  6. Switch to the second Registry Editor window, and go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\ThatRandomString, e.g. HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppXsq3757nydv3f9bx6862hv0t4z7ennqqd
  7. Right-click on it, and select New > String Value.
  8. Name it NoOpenWith, and keep its value empty.

Repeat the process for any file association that you don't want that particular app to be ever associated with again.

6

Several apps like Edge, Groove or Photo took over control of your files when you upgraded to Windows10, you will then not be able to choose your own software of your liking to open your files. BUT this behaviour can be stopped if you add a setting to your registry to Exclude E.g. Edge as an "available" file handler for PDF files. Following will stop Edge for blocking the use of Acrobat to open PDF files and other software like FIREFOX to open HTM and HTML files (I use the word BLOCK because Edge acts like a VIRUS, it always resets the file association back to Edge, even my 20th attempt to associate Acrobat Pro or Reader was re-set after a few hours, sometimes seconds.. ). Now to the Regedit setting. You need to look-up the associated PROGRAM-ID inside the registry AND then create a new key for the FILE TYPE you want to exclude from that program. The following entry....

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppModel\Repository\Packages\Microsoft.MicrosoftEdge_25.10586.0.0_neutral__8wekyb3d8bbwe\MicrosoftEdge\Capabilities\FileAssociations]
".htm"="AppX4hxtad77fbk3jkkeerkrm0ze94wjf3s9"
".html"="AppX4hxtad77fbk3jkkeerkrm0ze94wjf3s9"
".pdf"="AppXd4nrz8ff68srnhf9t5a8sbjyar1cr723"
".svg"="AppXde74bfzw9j31bzhcvsrxsyjnhhbq66cs"
".xml"="AppXcc58vyzkbjbs4ky0mxrmxf8278rk9b3t"

...shows that for PDF
AppXd4nrz8ff68srnhf9t5a8sbjyar1cr723
is that PROGRAM-ID.

Now you go to...
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppXd4nrz8ff68srnhf9t5a8sbjyar1cr723 (note the same ID) and create a new STRING key NoOpenWith (leave it empty)

EXAMPLE (as long as MS does not change the IDs) the following will stop Edge to hijack .HTM .HTML and .PDF files:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppX4hxtad77fbk3jkkeerkrm0ze94wjf3s9]
"NoOpenWith"=""

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppXd4nrz8ff68srnhf9t5a8sbjyar1cr723]
"NoOpenWith"=""

(you can copy this to a text file, change extension to .reg and import it to your registry.)
If you remove those 2 keys NoOpenWith again, it will revert to original setting.

3

I switched to the latest version of WinZip (20.0) and haven't encountered the problem since. So i guess the previous version (15.0) was in some way incompatible with Windows 10 file associations and triggered the reset.

  • Yes. The WinZIp Knowledge Base words things to make it appear that Windows 10 is the problem, but the problem is actually that WinZip messing with file associations in the first place. And why is it messing with the associations of types that are not archives? – Medinoc May 15 '18 at 14:46
2

I've found a way prevent edge from becoming the pdf / html handler. It's possible by adding the Noopenwith value for Edge's ProgID (the AppX..... key, this may vary from system to system). More details on it here. How to Stop Edge From Hijacking Your PDF or HTML Associations? The same method works for any other app.

  • Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill Feb 13 '16 at 9:55
  • This article leads to another that has an easier version of the fix, a downloadable regedit file to insert the appropriate registry changes (and another to undo them). link – Eric Sassaman Apr 23 '16 at 20:03
0

Also see that thing (update / install program that can open some files can lead to that dialog, if not disabled) http://www.tenforums.com/software-apps/14819-windows-asks-default-program-even-after-being-set-disable.html

0

Here's another cause of this, for me at least:

SageThumbs 2.0.0.23

All was working well when I installed the original version of Windows 10,

But now when I recently re-installed:

Microsoft Windows [Version 10.0.15063]

SageThumbs did not work as expected and this problem appeared, I un-installed it, rebooted, set default apps, rebooted and problem is gone now :)

I opened an issue here for that problem.

By the way, it also appears that:

Winamp 5.666

Does not work well anymore, as it does not appear as an option to be the default app for music.

-1

Another potential solution is to change what your default associations are, so that when windows DOES revert to default associations, it reverts to what you want it to be.

See https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825038.aspx

DOES THIS APPLY TO WIN 10? Heading of the linked page does not say that.
For windows 10
After the installation of KB3135173 and how to

  • Welcome to Super User! Please quote the essential parts of the answer from the reference link(s), as the answer can become invalid if the linked page(s) change. – DavidPostill Apr 8 '16 at 9:30

protected by Community Mar 21 '17 at 8:00

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