How to Enable / Disable “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” Option in Open With Dialog Box?

Whenever we use "Open With" option to open a file in Windows, it shows a dialog box containing a list of installed programs to choose from. There is also a checkbox "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" given at the bottom of this dialog box which is used to set the selected program permanent to open that file type.

Sometimes it gets irritating when we accidentally select a program from the list and click on "OK" button. It sets the selected program as default to open that file type which adds some extra work to our life.

So here I'll tell you a simple registry trick to permanently disable this checkbox:

For Windows XP:

Method A:

1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. Now go to:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Unknown\shell\openas\command

2. In right-side pane, change value of "Default" key to as following:

%SystemRoot%\system32\rundll32.exe %SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,OpenAs_RunDLL %1 %2

NOTE: We have only appended %2 at last of default value. You can use any number from 2-9.

3. Exit registry editor and try to open "Open With" dialog box. You'll find that the checkbox is disabled now as shown in following screenshot:

Open_with_disabled_XP.jpg

Method B:

1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. Now go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Policies\Explorer

If the "Explorer" key is not present, create it manually.

2. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD value NoFileAssociate and set its value to 1

3. Exit registry editor and try to open "Open With" dialog box. You'll find that the checkbox is disabled now as shown in following screenshot:

Open_with_invisible_XP.jpg

For Windows Vista, 7 or Server 2008:

Method A:

1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. Now go to:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Unknown\shell\opendlg\command

2. In right-side pane, change value of "Default" key to as following:

%SystemRoot%\system32\rundll32.exe %SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,OpenAs_RunDLL %1 %2

NOTE: We have only appended %2 at last of default value. You can use any number from 2-9.

3. Exit registry editor and try to open "Open With" dialog box. You'll find that the checkbox is disabled now as shown in following screenshot:

Open_with_disabled.jpg

Method B:

1. Type regedit in RUN dialog box and press Enter. Now go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\ Policies\Explorer

If the "Explorer" key is not present, create it manually.

2. Now in right-side pane, create a new DWORD value NoFileAssociate and set its value to 1

3. Exit registry editor and try to open "Open With" dialog box. You'll find that the checkbox is completely removed now as shown in following screenshot:

Open_with_invisible.jpg

NOTE: As you can see, when we use Method A to disable the checkbox, the "Open With" dialog box doesn't show recommended programs list which it does when we use Method B. Also if you see the last screenshot of Windows Vista, the Method B totally remove the checkbox instead of disabling it.

BONUS TIP: This tutorial can also be used in reverse condition. e.g. if this checkbox is already disabled in your Windows and you want to enable it, then you can remove the %2 mentioned in Method A or set value of DWORD value to 0 as mentioned in Method B.





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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP


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Comments

  • I clicked "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" for a song to use the program itunes. My hp laptop now opens every program with Itunes including the internet. I searched controll Panel to find a way to undo the change, but found nothing and my laptop thinks all files are the same or something, how can I have programs opened with the programs they are supose to be opened without loosing data.

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

    http://www.askvg.com/solution-exe-files-always-open-with-notepad-or-other-applications/

  • This is a crappy "solution". All we want to do is to get rid of the pre-loaded checkmark. Not disable the entire functionality. This just trades one PITA for another. Weak sauce hombre.

  • I used always use this program to open this file to open a shapefile using Ms- Excel it didn't open. but now when i download any shapefile it automatically converted into Ms-Excel. and does not open. what can i do to remove this problem. I am using windows xp

  • by mistake i clicked on the always use the selected programe to open this kind of file and selected internet explorer and clicked on the ok button............. now all my programmes have internet explorer as their logo and they do not work anymore......... plzzzz help

  • VG

    ^^ Check following tutorial:

    http://www.askvg.com/solution-exe-files-always-open-with-notepad-or-other-applications/

  • THANKS BRO . .

  • by mistake i selected always use ..... this option for all the files now each n every application on my system is showing that particular icon n even not working ( opening )
    plz help me how to fix it
    how to remove this from my all files is there any solution
    thanks

  • VG

    ^^ Check following article:

    http://www.askvg.com/solution-exe-files-always-open-with-notepad-or-other-applications/

  • Thank you.

  • Thanks! I used Nei'ls method to fix associations for .avi in my computer after deleting MPlayer

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts

    It was very frustrating to see the file associations screwed by MPlayer. Programs should make users experience a pleasure, not a pain.

    Thanks again!

  • This is excellent, I had users who kept screwing up the associations.

    FYI, you may still be able to change your file associations using the command "assoc" at the command line. This is a helpful utility if you want to change file associations for all the users of a computer at the same time.

    Thanks!

  • My computer says cant find file when I do method A and nor B why?

  • I accidentally set the "open with" option to System 32 after setting it to Notepad on a .001 File when trying to work with roms. Any help on how to get it back to opening with Windows Shell Common DLL?

  • Dear,

    I need my .DLL files and .OCX files to be always opened with Microsoft Register Server (regsvr32.exe). Whenever I right click on .dll or .ocx file I select open with Microsoft Register Server and I select "always use the selected program to open this kind of file", but when I check next time I found "always use the selected program to open this kind of file" is deselected.
    How to have .dll .ocx always to be open with regsvr32.exe. I found the same working with windows 7 (If I select, it remain same) but not with windows XP Pro SP3 - please help.

  • On a similar note . . .
    The "always use the selected program" option just came up totally missing from my Open With dialog box one day (Win7, Office 2003). I tried to regain it using the reverse of methods A and B with no luck. Any ideas? Gracias.

  • I have a problem with file association.I accidentally opened a .c file with notepad .I don't want it or any of the files of same type to be associated.I have deleted and download requested file numerous times and still is associated with notepad..please help..by the way the file I need is a midi mapper for my controller.

  • VG

    ^^ Which Windows version are you using?

  • How do I delete or undo the "open with" preferences in MS Office and Excel. I accidentally click yes in both of those programs recently and now I'm stuck.

  • VG

    ^^ Check following:

    http://www.askvg.com/default-programs-editor-yet-another-free-alternative-to-windows-default-file-type-option/
    http://www.askvg.com/filetypesman-free-alternative-to-windows-default-file-type-option/

  • thanks for this info though my win7 refuse to even open the regedit command from the run command prompt it keep saying 'application not found'. I even browse the run command and manually select from the window 'c:\windows\regedit.exe' still thesame. what next sir?

    all my programs now keep opening with my Mozilla Firefox web browser. I decided to uninstall the Firefox then all the program except few turned to unknown file, and each time I try opening them they say: application not fou . what do I do now that I can't run the regedit?

  • VG

    ^^ You are having following problem:

    http://www.askvg.com/solution-exe-files-always-open-with-notepad-or-other-applications/

  • " Always use the selected program to open this kind of file " was greyed out but now working perfectly ... Many thanks to ASKVG !!!

  • I didnt uncheck a ALWAYS use box now when i try to upload from my camera it goes straight to microsoft office home I dont want that page HELP

  • i've accidentally click on

    open with same program always use selected program to open this type of file

    with .rar files and used zip the actual zip program, and now i can open any of my .rar files

    please help :'(

  • VG

    ^^ Open WinRAR program and open its Settings. There you'll get option to re-associate RAR and other filetypes with it.

  • What I would like to do is REMOVE THE ASSOCIATION ENTIRELY for a particular filename extension that has an opening application associated with it. For example I have a number of files of different types, all with the extension ".11" as part of their filenames. I recently "opened with" one of them with Word, and forgot to uncheck the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" box. Now, of course, my Windows 7 machine wants to open every .11 file with Word instead of asking me what application I want to use, which is very irritating. I've been looking about the office for a Time Machine and a baseball bat so I can go back and stop myself from doing it in the first place, but to no avail (I found a golf club but no time machine). And I can't figure out how to undo the association without a time machine. It is easy to associate a DIFFERENT APPLICATION with my ".11" files (e.g. using "Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Default Programs\Set Associations"), but I can't see how to negate the association altogether (i.e. get back to where I was before). BTW I am plucking up my courage to try your Method B for ensuring this will never happen again. I have never touched my Registry before; but, if your method works, it corrects (albeit imperfectly) a design defect in Windows which has been present since at least Win95.

  • I have a better, Non Risky solution that is simpler than you might think. Go to default programs in windows, then click "Set default programs." After that, you should see winrar at the bottom. Click on it and click the "set program as default program" button. After you do that, all your .rar files will be converted back to winrar.

  • Any chance you know how to do this for Windows 8 onwards?

  • Can someone help me out here, I accidentally selected an application to open rar files that doesn't open rar files, is there any way to deselect this application on Windows 10?

  • VG

    ^^ Open WinRAR or 7-Zip or whatever app you are using to open RAR files. Now open its Settings and enable RAR file extension. It'll again set that app as default to open RAR files.

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