How to Reset File Associations in Windows 10

When you double click a file in File Explorer, it will be opened with an associated app. Apps can handle not only files but also various network protocols like HTTP (your default browser), BitTorrent or protocol handlers like tg: (a Telegram link), xmmp: (Jabber links) or skype: for the popular VoIP app. Here is how to set file associations to Microsoft-recommended defaults in Windows 10.

Starting with Windows 10, Microsoft moved plenty of classic options from the classic Control Panel to the Settings app. PersonalizationNetwork options, User Account management and many other options can be found there. The classic applet to change default apps has also been converted to a page in Settings.  We can use it to reset all or specific File Type or Protocol association to their defaults. Here is how.

To reset File Associations in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Navigate to Apps - Defaults Apps.
  3. Go to the bottom of the page and click the Reset button under Reset to the Microsoft recommended defaults.Windows 10 Reset File Associations
  4. This will reset all file type and protocol associations to the Microsoft recommended defaults.

Reset Specific File Type or Protocol associations in Windows 10

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Navigate to Apps - Defaults Apps.
  3. Go to the bottom of the page and click on the link Set defaults by app.Windows 10 Set Defaults By App Link
  4. Click on the desired app you would like to reset associations for, e.g. Movies and TV.Windows 10 Set Defaults By App Page
  5. Click on the Manage button.
  6. Assign the app to all types your need.Windows 10 Set Defaults For App

This will set the selected app as the default app for file types. To reset your protocol associations, go to Settings - Apps - Defaults Apps and click on the link Choose default apps for protocol.

Windows 10 Choose Defaults Apps By Protocol

For all the desired protocols, select a first-party app, e.g. the Mail app for the mailto: protocol.Windows 10 Select Defaults Apps By Protocol

Repeat this sequence for all protocols you want to reset and you are done.

That's it.

4 thoughts on “How to Reset File Associations in Windows 10

  1. Dan

    Hi there, thanks for all your hard work and very helpful information. My problem is that I have my own program defaults – I don’t really use the Microsoft apps at all – I need a tool to reset to my defaults after windows has changed them to the windows defaults – at present I have to use a registry hack but it would be nice if there was a tool that allowed you to properly handle program defaults.

    Cheers for now

    1. Brian

      I have the same problem, don’t use any of the Microsoft apps, but they often reset themselves after an update.
      The problem is, it doesn’t always give you the option to change, the one I want is not listed and no option to search for it as before. This is especially annoying when you use portable apps.

    2. Bob

      After Windows 7, Microsoft prevents the use of any other apps or tools to change file association defaults and forces you to use their Default Programs Control Panel. It uses digital signatures to make sure only that page can change defaults.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *