I have paint.net installed in my Windows 10 Pro. When I right-click a PNG file in the Windows Explorer, I see the Edit command. However, it opens the Windows Paint app, and I'd like to change it to paint.net. Is there a way to assign paint.net as the default editor for PNG files using a system applet?

Also, as I know, this is a question of registry settings, and the following key should contain the full path to the editor:


In my registry the (Default) value in this key is set to

"C:\Program Files\paint.net\PaintDotNet.exe" "%1"

, but the MS Paint is opened in any case.

  • Check in your per-user registry as well, just in case. I just tried editing HKCR\batfile\open\command: (default) to be Notepad++, and right-clicking a .BAT file and choosing Edit does now open Notepad++ (used to be notepad.exe).
    – CBHacking
    Sep 11 '15 at 10:49
  • 1
    @Dave: That will change the Open association, not the Edit one. The asker quite possibly wants PNGs to still open in another image viewer by default, and only in an image editor when making changes to them.
    – CBHacking
    Sep 11 '15 at 10:50
  • @CBHacking, what exactly key do you mean?
    – TecMan
    Sep 11 '15 at 10:54
  • HKCU\Software\Classes is basically a per-user version of HKCR. Check for PNG associations set there. (Random side note: HKCR itself is just HKLM\Software\Classes.)
    – CBHacking
    Sep 11 '15 at 10:58
  • @CBHacking, I do not see any special settings for PNG file in HKCU\Software\Classes.
    – TecMan
    Sep 11 '15 at 11:02

I solved my problem by myself. First I decided to find all registry values containing "mspaint.exe" to try to replace the path to MS Paint with what I need. One of the interesting keys I found was this:


Googled it, and the first search result was this article:

How to change the default image editor program

Tried it, and it works! We just need to change the default value of that key to the string

"C:\Program Files\paint.net\PaintDotNet.exe" "%1"

  • Please consider marking the accepted answer. Oct 16 '19 at 18:10
  • You the TecMan. Saved me hours of frustration ;-)
    – JAlex
    Sep 24 '20 at 17:52

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