Windows 8 Default Program Settings and Configuration [Full Guide]

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We can all agree that Windows 8 is a revamped version of Windows 7, featuring a new Modern UI look and Start Screen with Apps Support. Most of the features in Windows 7 have been retained, if slightly modified, in Windows 8. Besides removing the Start Button from Windows 8, Microsoft has also changed the default program settings. Windows Operating System cannot open file formats like FLV, Photoshop, PDF without having the related program software installed on the system. Generally, installed programs automatically associate the related files on their own. The related file type, when opened, uses its default associated program but sometimes this does not happen. One of the reasons for this error is because the user might have selected the wrong program for the file type.

Once you set the wrong program for a particular file type, each time the file will open in the wrong program and show you an error. Advanced users will be able to fix this issue in an instant but this might puzzle average computer users who are clueless when it comes to default program settings. Today, I am going to explain the complete procedure to redefine the default program for specific file types and how to remove the default program setting for any file type in Windows 8. The process is quite simple if you follow the instructions given below.

In the following example, I have wrongly set Microsoft Office Excel (.xlxs) file to open in Adobe Reader or in other words, I wrongly set Adobe Reader Program as the default program for all Office Excel files. So, when I double-click on an Excel file, by default, it attempts to open in Adobe Reader thus showing an error message.

To rectify this mistake, first of all, you have to open Default Program settings in Control Panel which you can do by searching the keyword default programs in the Control Panel search bar.


Look in the search results and click on the Default Programs option; you will see the window as shown in the image below. In the Default Programs window, you will see two important options: Set your default programs and Associate a file type or protocol with a program. To solve the above issue, you need to choose the second option, Associate a file type or protocol with a program.


Once you open the Associate a file type or protocol with a program option, look down for the file extension that is incorrectly set and click on the Change program.. button to change the default program for the file type. In my case, I had incorrectly used the Adobe Reader program to open an Excel (.XLSX) file so here I need to select the .xlsx file extension and click on Change program… button to browse the default program, Microsoft Office Excel, in the program folder. You can use the same process for any other file type as well. For example, you can set Media Player or VLC player as the default program for an Mp3 file type.


Set Default Programs

With this option, you can control which of the available programs should be used to open a file type. For instance, if at present, Media Player opens FLV files on your system then you can use this option to disable it. Once Media Player is unassociated with FLV file type, you can thereafter use any other player to open FLV files. To understand this example, click on the Set your default program option.


Now look for the Media Player program, select it and click on the Choose defaults for this program option from the right side-panel.


Clicking on the Choose defaults for this program in the last step will open a new window where you can uncheck the file type that you don’t want to open with Media Player as its default player. Once you are done, click on the Save button to save your settings.


I hope that the above guide will help you learn about default program settings in Windows 8.

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