How To: Manage your default apps in Windows 10

The way your default apps are handled has changed over the years quite a bit. The changes may have been for the better but Windows 7 users will most likely have some trouble with the system in Windows 10. As always, we are here to clear up any confusion and explain the new tools as simply as possible so that you can set up your favorite file associations with ease.

Default apps – The basics

Default Apps Choose

Those who are only looking to change the most basic of file associations will have a field day with Windows 10 because the operating system handles them in a very simple way. Open your Settings and go to System > Default apps. You will see a menu that lists some basic Windows functions like Calendar, Email, Music Player, Photo Viewer, Video Player and Web Browser. To change a default app, just click on its icon and select another one from the dropdown menu. It is that simple. Whenever you install a compatible app, it will instantly appear in this menu so you can go ahead and change the default programs as often as you want. If for some reason you prefer the Microsoft defaults, the Reset button will help you get them back in an instant.

Default apps – File type

Default Apps File Type

Clicking on this link will present you with a gigantic list of file types along with their current default app. This is useful for specific situations where the previous Default Apps windows fails to correctly set file associations or when you want to control individual file types without changing the default app. For example, I want most of my multimedia files to open with VLC but I also want to use Groove Music for some very specific file types. This menu lets you do that without having to change anything else.

Default apps – Protocols

Default Apps Protocols

This is a bit more complex. Several of the actions that you can take in Windows are associated with specific protocols. For example, clicking on a “MailTo” option will open your default email client and so forth. These settings should not be changed unless you find that something is not working.

Defaults apps – Control Panel options

Default Apps Control Panel

The last link in the Default apps menu, the one that reads “Set defaults by app”, will take you to the classic Control Panel menu where you can handle your file associations old-school. The list at the left will present you with all the programs that currently have a specific file association in your computer. Clicking on an app will then present you with a brief description and two separate options. The first option will let you set that program as the default one for all of its file types and protocols. The second option will give you a list of all the file types that specific program can access. This option is more or less like changing the File Types via the Settings menu only this time you will only be presented with specific types instead of just receiving a list of every single Windows file type in existence.