I did a clean install of Win 8.1 Pro along with several other development tools. I could get a list if needed, but somewhere early on, I installed Office 2013 Home and Student...and I installed VS 2013 after that at some point. I didn't check things as I was going, but when I am now finished. *.xml files are showing (and opening with) notepad icon. On my old machine (admittedly, a Win 7 machine) it has the proper 'xml document icon' and if you open it, it opens in a browser by default.

(embarrassed) I think I recall chasing this problem down before 4 years ago and solving it, but I can't find any documentation and I'm not finding the solution again on the web. So I thought I'd ask here, so it would be 'documented' in SO if someone is able to help.

So does anyone know how to fix my *.xml files so they are associated with proper settings? (note I did export my HKCR/xmlfile registry key from my Win7 (working) machine and applied it to the new Win8.1 machine, but it still didn't fix it :(

Thanks in advance.

  • Why don't you just right click and open with the program of your choice and set the default application to open xml with.
    – Devid
    May 19, 2014 at 19:45
  • Terry, if you feel like any answer or comment helped you solve your problem, you should upvote it. Jul 29, 2014 at 16:18
  • I haven't been able to resolve it yet. I didn't try NirSoft's program as I know I resolved this before on my Windows 7 install a couple years ago. Frustrating that I can't remember, but holding out trying to figure out.
    – Terry
    Aug 1, 2014 at 23:57

3 Answers 3


As suggested here on SuperUser try removing (and hopefully backupping before) the IconHandler sub-key from xmlfile key.

  • 1
    In addition to this, I changed the (default) value for Shell/open to "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" %1
    – Terry
    Jun 26, 2015 at 14:58
  • cool. I did that as well now
    – superjos
    Jun 29, 2015 at 8:18

I'm not sure if that is too easy, but you can set this under Settings > Search and Apps > Default

(Source: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/choose-programs-windows-uses-default)

edit: Maybe this topic is also of interest for you: How to recover my .xml default icon?


I don't know what broke it, but you can see and repair the association with NirSoft's FileTypesMan.

  • Will try this if no other suggestions...hoping not to have to install a third party application to pull this off. I'm hoping for a registry fix. Will let you know.
    – Terry
    Jun 3, 2014 at 4:49

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