I'm interested in changing the default "Edit" program for some files when I right click them and go to 'Edit' (see picture). Every time it's used, it seems to launch Notepad whereas some files I prefer to edit in Dreamweaver, others SciTE, etc.

enter image description here

I can change the default program to Open this file by going to "Open with...", selecting "Choose default program..." and making sure "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" is checked. But it doesn't appear there is the same kind of option to modify the default program which edits files.

Presumably, there's some settings that can be played around with in the registry, but I'm hoping there's an easier solution. What's the best way of doing this? (It would be nice if there was some sort of built-in context menu editor that came with Windows; I've heard there are some you can download though that aren't too bad).


There are two way to do it, using the registry of windows(REGEDIT) or use a free software.

The is a many free apps you can do so, but you can try

Creative Element Power Tools (File Type Doctor) http://creativelement.com/powertools/

Download and install Creative Element Power Tools Open the Creative Element Power Tools Control Panel. Turn on by ticking the check box of the Edit file type associations option, and click Accept then right click a file of the type you want to change and select Edit File Type. File Type Doctor will be opened, which user can edit the file associations for the type of file extension as needed.

There is another app (But everyone has his own preferences): File Type Manager http://frank.zinepal.com/file-type-manager


Editing EDIT: and the context menus, I covered as best as I could here Replace "Paint" as default program for 'Edit' Explorer command.

Send to: The quickest way I have found, and the least changing, is to drop a shortcut for your program into the SendTo Folder. This give you the option of sending any file to various programs. Today I might want to Hex view it, tomorrow I might want to quick view it with the notepad, the next day I might want to run a batch on that file, or a Virus scan.

Putting a shortcut for your program into the SendTo, means you can send ANY file to it regardless, of its extention or nature or how extentions are pointed. As long as the program can open it.

If you have a very special program, that can open many many things, your tired of having to reset everything to get many files to open to it. This Manuel users method , will stay in place, and be available to even files that should Not be opened with that program :-)

To get to the SendTo folder in Windows 7 , paste this into an Explorer address bar. %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo Then drop a ShortCut of the Executable of the program into the folder. Try to avoid putting the program itself in :-)

Open With Any specific ONE of the file extentions (ex: .txt) the user has Used OpenWith for previously, will show in the OpenWith again. The user does not need to set that item as "Default" to have it show up in that list again.

With OpenWith you can set-up many programs into that list. Without them being stuck as the default. But it is for files of only THAT extention (ex: .doc) that you set-up. so you go through the process for each file extention that you want that program, or programs to open.

Right click the file, and select "Open With" , then select "Choose Default Program". Uncheck [ ] "Always use the selected program for this type of file" if you just want it to show in the Open With location, but do not want it to be "Default". . Then browse for your executable that you want to open this type of file to. . Then everytime you right click that same File type, The programs (all of them) that you set to Open With , will be there to open with into your selected program.

Just like editing the registry for specific Edit items, this is working based on the extention of the file, or the file "classes" and every class that you wish to open that way has to be set that way.

Setting "associations" in the program itself. Many programs can set to use the windows classes system to set themselves as the Editor (rarer) or the Open (common) for that file type. Always check the preferances or options for the program your using, and see if the program has a way to Set associations, or file types that it will open to. When setting in the program itself, there is less thinking, and the file types that program Can do are all there.


You can find where these menu entries are located in the Registry by using nirsoft's ShellEx and ShellMenu viewer.


The difference is a menu entry can either refer to just a command line string or to an executable Shell Extension. Hence the two different viewers.

Microsoft's Dev documentation is here. It looks complicated but there are popular tools out there for the Devs.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.