How in Windows (in my case 8.1) set the default app that would be set as default for all files that don't have a default app specified?

More specifically, it should act as a fallback app for all files. Meaning, if for a given file the default app is not specified, the fallback is used, otherwise the specified default is used.

Even more specifically:

  • Specify Notepad as the fallback
  • There's a file config(the default isn't specified)
  • There's a file config.cfg(the default [for .cfg] is Vim)
  • When opening config, Notepad is used
  • When opening config.cfg, Vim is used
  • If Vim ceases to exist(later becomes uninstalled), when opening config.cfg, Notepad is used
  • There is a way by modifying registry values, but could you provide an example like which extension, which program is first and second preference etc.?
    – Biswapriyo
    Feb 2 '20 at 8:52
  • @biswapriyo the OP is saying for all non-specified extensions, i.e., a catch-all.
    – Arctiic
    Feb 2 '20 at 9:09

The best choice might be to add a right-click context menu entry for the "wild card" extension, asterisk. Any file, when right-clicked, would have an option to open with Notepad.

Notepad as wild card choice

  • Open Regedit by pressing Windows, entering rege and selecting Regedit.
  • Scroll to HKCR\*\shell.
  • Right-click on shell and select New > Key.
  • Name the key Notepad.
  • Right-click on Notepad and select New > Key.
  • Name the key command.
  • Double-click Default and change the text to notepad.exe "%1".

You can also save the following script as a .reg file and merge it. The script also adds the Notepad icon to the context menu entry.

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


@="Notepad.exe \"%1\""

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