How to Change File Associations in Windows 8

This tutorial will show you how to change file associations in Windows 8. For example, if you want .MP3 files to be played in iTunes by default, rather than Microsoft’s “Music” program – this guide will show you how.

Microsoft makes “educated guesses” as to what types of files should be opened in which programs. Sometimes the file you’re trying to view/edit etc opens in the “wrong” program. Another scenario is that when you install a new program, sometimes it will overwrite your settings and associate all the files it’s “supposed” to open with it, rather than the one you want. Here are the steps to take so that files open in the program you want.

The steps for doing this are different in other versions of Windows – if you’re using Windows 10, this is the guide you want to use. If you’re using Windows 8, keep reading.

  1. Bring up the Search feature (hover your cursor over the bottom-right corner of the Metro interface).
  2. the Windows 8 Search button

  3. In the Search box, type in Control Panel. The Control Panel ‘link’ will appear on the left side of the Search screen. Click it.
  4. The Windows 8 Apps section of the Control Panel
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  5. Select Programs from the Control Panel home.
  6. the Windows 8 classic Control Panel
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  7. From the Default Programs section, select Make a file type always open in a specific program
  8. windows 8 file associations links in the Control Panel
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  9. You may have to wait a moment while Windows gathers information.
  10. changing the file associations in Windows 8
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  11. Then you’ll be presented with a list of File Types. Scroll to the file type (extension) that you want to change the behaviour for. In this example I’ve used the file type .mp3. As indicated in the screenshot below, .mp3 is currently associated with (ie. will open with) the program named Music. Select the file type you want changed by clicking on it once, then click the Change Program… button.
  12. the MP3 file association in Windows 8
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  13. Windows will once again make an educated guess as to what program you want to open MP3 files with. If you want to change it so that MP3s play in iTunes, select iTunes (again, this is just an example). If you want MP3s to open in a program that isn’t listed, click the More options link.
  14. changing the default MP3 App
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  15. Scroll through the list of all the Programs, and if it’s still not displayed, click the Look for another app on this PC link. From there you’ll need to navigate to the program itself, and select it.
  16. changing the image defaults
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  17. Once you’ve made the change, you’ll notice that the file type will now open in the new program.
  18. MP3s now open with iTunes
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  19. Repeat these steps to change other Windows 8 file associations.

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1 thought on “How to Change File Associations in Windows 8”

  1. how would you set it to use a windows app that isn’t already listed?
    through the “look for another app on this pc”?
    where would you find them?

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