Working with default programs

When you double click a file to open it, whether it be stored on your computer or attached to an email, your computer uses a program to open the file, but sometimes there may be more than one appropriate program available, so how does Windows decide which one to use?

Each file type has a default program assigned to, this is part of your computers settings that you can change. You can also bypass the default program to open a specific file with another program, without changing the default program assigned to that file type, for example you may set a program for viewing photos as the default program for images, but you may wish to use a different program every now and then to edit an image.

Go to your Pictures folder and double click one of the images. The default program for that file type will open up and display the image. Now close that program down and right click the image you just opened and click on the “Open With” item and you will see a list of other programs that you could also use to open this image.

Selecting an option from this “Open With” menu will not change any settings on your computer, but if after exploring some options you decide you want to change the default program used for opening images, right click the image and select the “Open With” menu, but this time select the “Choose another app” option and a settings window will open.

This window will display a list of the available programs for opening images. Select the one you want to assign as default, tick the “Always use this app to open xxx files”, click the OK button and the image will open, and the default program for opening that type of file will now be set to that program. The same steps apply to other files too, such as videos and even spreadsheet files.

Keep in mind that there are different file formats for the same types of files, for example, JPG, PNG and TIFF are all file types for images. Changing the default program for a JPG image, will not affect PNG or TIFF files, even though they are images, you will need to repeat these steps again for those files types as well if you wish to.