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  1. #1
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    Edit 'Open With' list

    Is there any way to edit the 'Open With' list that Windows pops up? I'm seeing a lot of programs that I don't know, and some that I don't even have on my computer anymore, and would like to pare this list down somewhat so that it is a little more efficient.

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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    I think there is a setting in TweakUI that will allow one to remove some of these items. I do NOT have Windows 98 running at this time so I can not check it out.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    "Open With" dialog collects registered applications from your Registry. For example, from HKCRApplications. If you still see applications you uninstalled, uninstallation program doesn't clean all Registry entries (unfortunately, it is happen too often). To remove them, you can clean your Registry (if you are not familiar with this, I do not recommend to do it). Better solution is to add a new action in the file association: open My Computer, from View menu choose Folder Options, click File Types tab, highlight file type you want and click Edit button and on the next screen New button; or, if this type is not on the list, click New button and follow the wizard.

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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    David - great question. TweakUI can set the "New" list but not OpenWith. I will look into this -- if I find the time.

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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    David, there are a couple issues and possible solutions. Let us first look at alternative solutions, then we can direct our attention to the Open With box itself. Frankly, I have the opposite problem that you do -- I want to add to the list!

    First, the simplest alternative solution is to create specific "Open with X" Context Menus for specific File Types. See my first image below -- I have created three specific "Open with..." entries for my .txt files. The one circled is bogus but only used for demonstration. You should be able to do that using the instructions posted above by kaplinb -- or it can be done directly in the registry. There are also third-party programs that automate this task.

    Second, there is a fairly nice free program called "Open Expert" from BAxBEx that adds a "Shell Extension Context Menu Handler" to the right-click Context Menu. Image 2 shows you how that works for a .bmp file. You can select which programs appear in this list by clicking "Add application" or "Configure".

    OK, now let's turn to your question. The basic Win98 "OpenWith" right-click Context Menu item is created here in the registry:

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT*shellopenascommand
    @=c:windowsrundll32.exe shell32.dll,OpenAs_RunDLL %1 %2

    So it uses the RunDLL32 executable with some help from the shell32 DLL. This tells us how the Open With box pops up, but does not tell us the source of the file list. We are going to find the source, but first let's look at the prior response. Kablinb states:

    "Open With" dialog collects registered applications from your Registry. For example, from HKCRApplications.

    Is this correct? I don't know -- but it certainly could be. I would suspect that 'registered' means application executable files that have been assigned a CLSID. So, the program executables should be listed this key:

    HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTCLSID

    Now that is a huge key, but if you click on the key (folder) and run a Search (Find) for the executable file's name, you should come up with the correct CLSID number. If you don't know the executable file's name, try the "Friendly Name" (i.e., the application's name) and that might identify the CLSID as well.

    Now, I don't think the HKCRApplications key is playing a role here -- but I realize it was only listed as an example. That key holds things like your HTML file editors -- but it is far too small to hold all the programs that appear in the Open With list.

    Now let's find the source of this list... I'll run some tests and be back in a second.
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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    That's some interesting information. I notice the second image shows a way to create an expandable "Open with" menu.

    An alternative way of doing this is just to put a shortcut to the application in the sendto menu (which would be much more convenient for keyboard enthusiasts if the hotkey were other than "t"). <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    Ouch! I was wrong. [img]/forums/images/smilies/sad.gif[/img] Man I hate that!!

    It is not using the CSLID key after all! Instead it is actually scanning through ("Enumerating") the entire HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT section of your Registry. It is looking at every file extension (.xxx) and File Type (xxxfile) key for sub-keys like this:

    ...shellopencommand

    If it finds a sub-key pattern like that, it "Queries" the (Default) value to see if it is an executable file (e.g., notepad.exe -- or in the image below, ...themes.exe). If it finds an executable file listed in the command sub-key, it adds it to the list! It appears to be that simple.

    Therefore, if you have extraneous entries in your Open With list, that means you must still have extraneous file extensions or File Types in your registry with executable files listed. I would have hoped that a Registry Cleaning program would have caught these 'dead ends', but who knows!

    I hope this has been useful. Good luck.
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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    Correct. The BAxBEx Shell Extension Context Menu Handler is an expandable list. It can work in the same fashion as "sendto", but it is an alternate list. Since I have MS "SendtoX" installed, my SendTo list is fairly long. The OpenExpert list can be much sorter -- or as long as you desire.

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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    Wow! <img src=/S/dizzy.gif border=0 alt=dizzy width=15 height=15> I don't mind tinkering with the registry, but clsid stuff is something that I havn't done much of anything with before. One of the problems with the files that I have to "open with" is that they are text files with a .DAT extension. I do not want to have all .DAT files associated with a specific program, yet my system default of opening unknown file types with Notepad is inadequate for this situation since they actually need to be processed with other programs.

    The "Open Expert" program looks like it would be a really good solution, depending on how it works -- definately worth some research time.

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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    Sounds like I should open up regedit and do a search for the programs that 'Open With' is listing that I know are no longer on the computer and purge any and all traces of them -- WPWIN is long gone. As to cleaning up programs that Windows correctly identifies as executables I guess the safest thing would be to leave them alone and grab the 'Open With' utility mentioned elsewhere. It shouldn't take too long to set up for the few different file types that I want the added flexibility in opening.

  11. #11
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    Re: Edit 'Open With' list

    I would think that all the programs that are listed in the "Open With" box that are no longer on your computer could be completely deleted from the registry. You could search you registry for those entries and delete them.

    If they appear in the Open WIth box, then they should have some entry somewhere in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT with a .../shell/open/command/'xxx'.exe value. If that key were deleted, I would have to suspect the entry would be removed from the Open With list.

    Also, some good registry cleaning programs SHOULD be able to do this for you. RegCleaner or the even more powerful JV16 power Tools should do the trick.

    Open Expert is a good choice as well. BAxBEx makes several oher good utilities. If you use IrfanView, check out their Shell Extension for IrfanView. It makes image file conversion a snap.

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