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I followed the guidance in this Super User question: Windows 7 - Changing the default ANSI to UTF-8 in Notepad.

However, I don't have the registry key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.txt\ShellNew.

How can I change the default encoding from ANSI to Unicode in Notepad with Windows 8 Pro?

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Just to offer a cheap alternative fix... hear me out: Create a blank txt file and resave it as Unicode. Close it. Enter the file's properties and check the read-only attribute:

file properties, read-only

Then every time you want to create a new Unicode file, instead of opening Notepad, open that specific file. When you try to save, it will force a save-as, and the encoding will default to Unicode.

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