Open files with a different program

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We all have our favorite programs to use. However, sometimes when we install a new program, it makes itself the default program for a particular type of file. For example, you might currently open all of your sound files with Windows Media Player. But if you decide to download and install RealPlayer, you will probably discover that your sound files all open with RealPlayer. Kind of annoying. So today, we will learn how to associate a certain type of file with a specific program.

As an example, we will use image files. Let’s say that currently, whenever you click on an image file, the picture automatically opens in Windows Image Viewer. You just got a new program such as Photoshop Elements, so you want all of your pictures to open in that program. Here’s how you make that switch.

First, find a picture file. There are probably some located in My Pictures, which is a subfolder of My Documents. Right-click on the file name, and move the cursor to “Open with…”. Then in the new menu that opens up, you will see a list of programs. You might even see the program that you want to use. Do not click on it. Instead, move your cursor down and click on “Choose Program”. Then click the “Browse” button.

Now you will see a Windows dialogue box. You have to find the program. Don’t worry, it’s not that difficult. If you already have an icon for the program on your desktop, just click on “Desktop” and choose that program from there. If you don’t have that on your desktop, go and make the desktop shortcut first and then come back to this procedure.

Once you have chosen your program, there is one more vital step. You will see a little checkbox that says “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file”. Check that box and click OK.

The first thing that you will see happen is that the file will open immediately in the program you chose (in this case, Photoshop Elements). Now, close all programs and windows. Go back to your list of picture files and just double-click on one of them. It should automatically open in Photoshop Elements.

You have just changed a file association. Congratulations!

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