How to Change What Program Opens a File in Windows 11: A Step-by-Step Guide

how to change what program opens a file windows 11

If you want to change what program opens a file in Windows 11, you can easily do this through the Settings app or directly from the file itself. First, right-click on the file and choose "Open with," then select "Choose another app." From there, pick the program you want and ensure you check the box that says, "Always use this app." Alternatively, you can make the change system-wide through the Settings app by navigating to Apps > Default apps and setting your preferences there. Both methods are straightforward and will help you manage your files more efficiently.

Step-by-Step Tutorial on how to change what program opens a file windows 11

In this section, we’ll walk you through the process of changing the default program that opens a specific file type on Windows 11. Follow these easy steps to ensure your files open with the programs you prefer.

Step 1: Right-click on the File

First, find the file type you want to change and right-click on it.

When you right-click, you’ll see a context menu pop up with various options. This menu is your gateway to a host of commands and actions for that file.

Step 2: Choose "Open with"

In the context menu, hover over the "Open with" option.

When you do this, another submenu will appear showing a list of programs that can open the file. This is where you start the process of changing the default program.

Step 3: Select "Choose another app"

Click on "Choose another app" from the submenu.

This option allows you to pick a different program from a broader list, rather than just the few shown initially. You’ll also get an option to set your new choice as the default.

Step 4: Pick the New Program

Select the program you want to use from the list.

Once you click on "Choose another app," a window will appear with more programs. You can pick one here or even browse for more options by clicking "More apps."

Step 5: Check the Box "Always use this app"

Don’t forget to check the box that says, "Always use this app to open .[filetype]."

This is crucial because it tells Windows to use this program for all future files of this type. If you skip this step, the change won’t be permanent.

Step 6: Click "OK"

Finally, click the "OK" button to confirm your choice.

After you click "OK," Windows will remember your settings and use the new program to open this type of file from now on.

After completing these steps, Windows 11 will automatically use the new program to open files of the specified type. No more annoying pop-ups asking which program to use!

Tips for how to change what program opens a file windows 11

  • If you frequently use multiple programs for the same file type, consider using the "Open with" option without setting a new default.
  • You can also change default programs via the Settings app by going to Apps > Default apps.
  • Make sure the new program is installed and up-to-date to avoid any compatibility issues.
  • Backup your files before making any system changes to ensure you don’t lose important data.
  • If you experience issues, you can always revert to the previous settings through the same steps.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I reset all default apps in Windows 11?

Go to Settings > Apps > Default apps and scroll down to "Reset all default apps."

Can I change the default app for multiple file types at once?

Yes, you can do this through the Default apps section in the Settings app by specifying each file type individually.

What if the program I want isn’t listed?

Click on "More apps," and if it’s still not there, browse for the executable file (.exe) of the program.

Is it possible to set different default apps for different users?

Yes, default apps can be set per user account, so different users can have different settings.

How do I revert to the default program that Windows originally used?

You can reset defaults by file type through the Default apps section in the Settings app.

Summary of how to change what program opens a file windows 11

  1. Right-click on the file
  2. Choose "Open with"
  3. Select "Choose another app"
  4. Pick the new program
  5. Check the box "Always use this app"
  6. Click "OK"


Changing what program opens a file in Windows 11 is a simple yet powerful way to customize your computing experience. By following the easy steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your files open with the programs you prefer, enhancing both productivity and convenience. Whether you’re working with photos, documents, or any other file type, having control over your default programs can make your workflow smoother and more efficient.

For those who often switch between different software, this feature can save you a lot of time and hassle. Remember, you can always revert any changes or experiment with different setups to find what works best for you. If you have more questions or run into any issues, don’t hesitate to explore the FAQs or seek additional help.

Feel free to share this guide with anyone who’s new to Windows 11 or needs a refresher on managing default programs. Happy computing!