Change a Program Associated with a File Type in Windows 7


Change a Program Associated with a File Type in Windows 7


Like many of you, I made the switch from Windows XP to Windows 7 recently and completely skipped over the whole Vista debacle.  In doing so, I have found many changes in process that may have been made under Vista but am not seeing until now.

Changing File Type Associations in Windows 7

In good ‘ol Windows XP, you could change file type associations in any Explorer window by hitting Tools > Folder Options > File Types.  In Windows 7, the File Types tab has gone missing.  How do I change this, when I do not have a specific file that I want to click on?

Easy.  Here are the steps:

  1. Go to the Control Panel (or my favorite, hit your Windows Key and type “Cont” and the Control Panel link appears)
  2. Go to Default Programs (or again, skip step 1 and go Windows Key, then type “Defau” and the Default Program link appears.)
  3. Select “Associate a file type or protocol with a program
  4. Scroll through the list to find the extension you are looking to change and double-click it.  For my example, I want to change .TIFF files from Photoshop to the default Windows image viewer.  
  5. A new window appears giving you the recommended options.  You can hit “Other Programs” if you had something else in mind.  I chose Photo Viewer.
  6. Done!
Simple.  Now the file will open with the program you have selected.

Productivity Tip:  What Do You Mean by “Hit the Windows Key to Search”?

In the list of steps above, I mentioned one of my very favorite tools in the new Windows 7, the enhanced Search feature.  Gone are the days of slow and unreliable searching for files you know are there.  Now you can find anything at any time.

From anywhere in Windows, just hit your Windows Key (the key with the Windows symbol, next to ALT on the bottom left of your keyboard) and start typing whatever you are looking for.  

Be vague, be precise…whatever!  Is it a file?  Is it a program?  Is it an email?  Who cares, the new search will find it!  


More About the Author

Dalton Parsons

Global Director of Strategic Communications
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