[Solution] .REG Registry Files Always Open with Notepad in Windows

Most of our tutorials include download of ready-made registry script files to fix a problem or to tweak Windows functionality. Registry scripts have .REG file extension and when you run them, Windows merges their data into Windows Registry.

By default, .REG files are associated with Registry Editor (regedit) and when you double-click on a .REG file, Registry Editor executes the file and shows a message box asking for your confirmation.

Sometimes when you try to run a .REG file, Windows opens it with Notepad and you can't merge its data with Registry. After receiving several emails about this common problem, today I decided to post a working solution to fix this annoying problem.


The automatic opening of .REG file in Notepad can be caused by several reasons like following:

  • You accidentally associated Notepad or another program with .REG file using "Open with" window
  • You used a 3rd party tweaking utility to change the behavior of opening .REG files
  • .REG files association settings got corrupted in Windows Registry

Actually many tweaking software come with an option to change .REG file behavior. These software allow you to set "Edit" or "Open with Notepad" option as default to open .REG files instead of merging them into Registry. This option is provided for security purposes so that you don't merge incorrect data in Windows Registry accidentally.

It might also be possible that you changed .REG file association settings using "Open with" dialog box. When you right-click on any file, you get "Open with" option to change the default program associated with that file type.

And sometimes .REG file association settings get corrupted in Windows Registry. It might happen because of using a Registry cleaner software or installing an incorrect registry script file.

Anyway there are many ways to fix this problem and to re-associate .REG files with registry Editor so that you can directly merge registry files into Windows Registry instead of opening them in Notepad.

Today in this tutorial, we are going to mention 4 easy ways to fix the problem when .REG files always open with Notepad instead of merging into Windows Registry.

Following are those 4 easy to use methods:

  • METHOD 1: Using .REG file context menu
  • METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor
  • METHOD 3: Using Command Prompt
  • METHOD 4: Using Open with window

METHOD 1: Using .REG File Context Menu

If a .REG file opens in Notepad in your system, don't double-click on it. Just right-click on the .REG file and select "Merge" option to directly merge them into Windows Registry.


Right-clicking on .REG file and selecting "Merge" option will do the same job as you double-click on a .REG file to merge it into registry.

METHOD 2: Using Registry Editor

If the above method doesn't work for you. You can merge the .REG file using Registry Editor itself.

1. Type regedit in RUN or start menu search box and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor.

2. Now click on File menu and select Import command.


3. It'll open browse dialog box where you can select the .REG file and it'll merge the data into Windows Registry.

METHOD 3: Using Command Prompt

Both above mentioned methods are temporary fix for this problem. They help you in merging the .REG file data into Windows Registry but they don't re-associate .REG files with Registry Editor.

You can use this method to re-associate .REG files with Registry Editor:

1. Click on "Start button -> All Programs -> Accessories". Right-click on "Command Prompt" and select "Run As Administrator". If you are prompted to enter password, enter the password and continue. You can also open Command Prompt in Administrator mode by typing "cmd" in Start Menu Search box and press "Ctrl+Shift+Enter".

2. Now provide following command:



3. That's it. It'll restore .REG file settings and it should fix the problem.

METHOD 4: Using Open With Window

If none of the above mentioned methods work for you. Here is a 100% working method to fix this irritating problem.

1. Right-click on .REG file and select "Open with -> Choose default program" option.


2. It'll open "Open with" window. Now look for "Registry Editor" program in the given list. If you find it, select it.

3. If you don't find the program in the given list, click on "Browse" button, type %windir%\regedit.exe in file name text box and click on "Open" button. If you don't want to type the whole path, you can go to C:\Windows folder in browse dialog box and there you'll get regedit.exe file to select.


4. Now make sure to select the checkbox "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" and click on OK button.

5. That's it. It'll re-associate Registry Editor with .REG files and now whenever you'll try to open a Registry script, it'll directly merge the data into Windows Registry instead of opening the file in Notepad.

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

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