File Association Tools & Tips

We’ve recently discussed how many tools want to change your file associations— that is, to alter which programs open what file types (see ). It can be hard to undo file association changes, especially if you install software that changes a wide range of associations. Office suites, graphics tools and multimedia players are among the most aggressive software for changing *lots* of file associations at once.

There are some tools that can help restore associations. For example:

Fred, Regarding your 2003-10-13 newsletter where you discussed file extension changing as software is installed…I’ve discovered a tool that can help you manage file extensions. It’s called Associate This by Spearit Software ($20) and I feature it on my file extension site. It sits in the background and when extensions are changed it captures that information, notifies you, and gives you the option of rolling the change back: And, my description… Best, Tom Simondi

Of course, manual methods are free, and also can work. We discussed some in , and Tom covers it on his site, above; but other readers are finding their own ways too, via targeted web searches:

Your "Open Office And File Associations" article was very useful. There is one category of file association you missed. I am running Windows XP and want to open a certain graphics program when double-clicking Double-click them, but control has been usurped by "windows picture and fax viewer" (wpfv). I tried to have my graphics program reclaim the file associations, but that will not work — wpfv never touched the "open" file association — it simply added a "preview" association and made that the default action…. I often joke that you don’t need to know anything when you have the internet. I could have saved myself grief by just doing a search for "microsoft picture and fax viewer"… the following site says what registry item to delete.
—Dan Strum

Thanks, Tom and Dan!

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Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.