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How do you associate the .exe file extension with a program in Windows?

I wanted to look at a shortcut or .exe file (not sure which, unfortunately) in Notepad, so I opened it right up (Open with ...).

Then I realized that I must have told the computer to always open such files with Notepad ... now everything is screwed up. Can't even figure out how to open the shell.

How do I undo this? Or have I already made a permanent change?

Similar to this question, but I'm not a power user, so I don't understand the answers. I thought this could be done through the control panel.

To make it more difficult, I'm on a french computer, and using Windows 7 (I think) which I'm not familiar with (always used XP).


The answer I finally found after lots of googling was here:

What I did to correct.

Clear the association from the first two keys. My fun included a third key named something like user option or user choice(which I deleted).



HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts.lnk\user option something

Note: I don't know if this is the best way, or if it's safe, or even if the entire problem is fixed. But as far as I can tell everything seems to be back to normal.

Here's what I did (as nearly as I can remember) for a non-poweruser:

  • click on the start menu, and in the search box type in "regedit"
  • open the application that it finds for you
  • in the program that opens, follow the path in the above post (HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts.lnk\OpenWithProgids)
  • delete the key mentioned above
  • exit
  • restart the computer

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