Recently, my Windows 10 installation has changed. When I want to set defaults by app, the interface went from this:

Legacy Method

To this:

New Method

The new way only allows me to click Manage and then manually select the program I want to use for each file type associated with the application.

How do I get the old one back?

  • 1
    You are comparing the UWP method of setting the default application to the legacy method. Legacy method is still accessible through control panel
    – Ramhound
    Nov 29, 2017 at 23:31
  • 6
    @ramhound not in the newest version of Windows 10. Microsoft continues to deprecate those legacy control panel functions and redirects to the newer version, which for some reason all seem to be extremely limited in functionality. I’m with the OP, I was a bit pissed off about this one. Nov 29, 2017 at 23:59

4 Answers 4


The default functionality changed within the Feature Update known as Windows 10 version 1709. When the change was first implemented in Insider Preview Build 16215, Microsoft said the following:

Per-App Defaults Settings Page: In the past, when using Settings you had to start with your file type or protocol if you wanted to make a change to the default app. That’s changing with this build, and you can now start with your app, and then see the available options for what it can handle. To see this new option, go to Settings > Apps > Default apps > “Set defaults by App”. Choose an app and click ‘Manage’ to see all the file types and protocol associations for which the app is the default. This page takes the place of the one that had been available in Control Panel, as part of our ongoing effort to converge the settings experience.

Update: while we can restore the legacy screen, unfortunately Microsoft has disabled the original capabilities of this Control Panel interface. It is essentially a read-only view of the current default application-to-file type assignments, and it can't actually make any changes.

Update 2: not available on newer Windows 10 Feature Update releases

If you want to utilize this read-only screen, do the following:

  1. Right-click on your desktop and select New > Shortcut

  2. When you are asked to Type the location of the item, paste the following in the adjacent field:

    control /name Microsoft.DefaultPrograms /page pageDefaultProgram  

Create Shortcut

  1. You will then be asked to Type a name for this shortcut. The ideal name would probably be Set Default Programs.

  2. Double-click on your newly created shortcut, and you will be presented with the legacy interface:

Set Default Programs

After that, you can ensure that the shortcut is readily available by right-clicking it and selecting Pin to Start, or you can copy it to the App List as follows:

Only your App List - %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

All users App List - %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Source: List of Commands to Open Control Panel Items in Windows 10

  • 1
    thank you. That does bring up the old interface. But it seems like the "Set this program as default" option isn't hooked up anymore Apr 18, 2018 at 3:43
  • 2
    @Spasticmonkey , apparently so. That is unfortunate that they removed that functionality, when the actual interface is still there. If they had retained the same capabilities in the new Set defaults by app interface, that would alleviate many end-users' frustration.
    – Run5k
    Apr 18, 2018 at 3:57
  • 4
    This doesn't work anymore, it seems to pop up for a split second but you end up on the new interface now (Windows 10 version 1903).
    – Inkling
    Aug 3, 2019 at 4:18

As above, in Windows 10 version 1803, , the control panel shortcut now just brings up Settings.

But the following worked:

Right-click on the file, select "Open With" and click "Choose another app" at the bottom of the right-click menu.

Clicking that gives the dialog box with default app selection that ends with "Look for an app in the Store".

Here's the tricky bit: Click on the white space under the last option. This extends the list!

Scroll to the bottom of this list (assuming your app isn't listed).

Click on the white space, under the last option, again!

You should be taken to the Windows standard File Open dialog, where you can browse to your program of choice. (Worked for me.)

  • Where you describe white spaces, I see "More Apps" and "Look for another App on this PC" respectively instead. The same can be reached through the file's properties -> (General) Opens with -> [ Change... ] Sadly, while this is easy enough, it doesn't work for associations by protocol as presented in the PC Settings UWP App Sep 12, 2018 at 18:23
  • Wow, you are genious! This worked for me, while accepted answer didn't. Upvoted. Dec 4, 2018 at 20:37
  • I had no idea that that white space was clickable! Very useful.
    – ilcj
    Mar 12, 2020 at 20:29

The old UI is removed starting with Windows 10 1709.

If your version is Windows 10 1703 and previous, you still can access the old UI via Control Pane-> Program ->Default Programs-> Set default programs.

If your current version is Windows 10 1709, No way to get it back. Only the New UI is available.

  • 1
    Thank you for this, it was driving me mad. Trust Microsoft to make things harder :/ Nov 30, 2017 at 19:38

As Karen Hu mentioned, as part of Microsoft's ongoing, failing attempt to streamline UI, they're continually removing the old and substituting in the new, which somehow never fails to manage breaking for every other use case. Luckily there's still a way to access an interface that works. Press Win+R, enter

control /name Microsoft.DefaultPrograms /page pageFileAssoc

and click OK. It's not setting defaults by app, but it let's you manually resolve issues where Windows doesn't allow you to configure your defaults as needed.

Not only will this allow you to set file type associations to any program, but it also lets you filter by file extension by typing its name in the list. The Settings interface doesn't have any sort of filtering thanks to Microsoft's amazing ingenuity, so you have to manually scroll through potentially over 1000 items to get to what you need.

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