It's a common scenario. You click on a file, just as you've always done, but this time, the "wrong" program launches and you're both confused and frustrated.

What happened?

Simple, your computer constantly keeps track of all of the software installed you have, along with what types of files that software should open. This list is commonly referred to as your "file associations" and generally makes your life much easier.

Your systems "file associations" are the reason that whenever you click on a JPG file (for instance) a particular program is used to open and display the picture.

However, whenever you install (or uninstall) software, your system's "file associations" are often changed in the process.

As a result, while you may have been perfectly content to have your pictures viewed through your browser, all of the sudden they are now opening with software you recently installed, PhotoShop or Paint Shop Pro, for instance.

The good news is that you can change your systems "associations" anytime you like, or simple deviate from them on an "as needed" basis.

The easiest way to execute this trick is to use Windows Explorer to find a file that you want to open. Then highlight the file and press and hold the "Shift" Key while "Right-Button" clicking your mouse.

The addition of the "Shift" key results in an additional item being displayed in the down-menu, this being the option to "Open with..."

When you select "Open With" this will present you with a list of all the programs on you system. From here, you can choose to open this file with any installed program that is capable of working with the file format in question, just this once.

If you decide that you always want to open this specific type of file with a program other than what the current settings dictate, then you can simply check the "always use this program" box and your computer will now "associate" this type of file with the program you've selected.

Whether you need to restore your "file associations" to the way they were before installing a new program, or simply wish to change the way your computer opens certain files as a matter of preference, it's completely under your control.


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale