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.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

8 thoughts on “How to Reset File Associations in Windows 10”

  1. 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. 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. 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.

  2. I have a bit different issue. Sometimes for some programs there is an unknown file type, basically Windows has no idea with what to associate these files with and has no idea how to open them, and along the way I tinkered with “open as”, so I am not stuck on a program I used as “open as” and seemingly forgot to remove the checkbox to open it always with that program. What I want is to how to remove it so that it goes back to defaults where windows can’t recognize the file type and with what to open it.

    1. Never mind, I did what I wanted thanks to the link above by the Sergey Tkachenko who replied on the previous answer. Basically it involved removing a line within registry, which was in \HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes, in that place there were all the file types, or file type that I needed to which a default program was associated. When I looked up the file type i needed and removed the value, restarted the PC, and it was gone, the file type is back to what it initially was, windows couldn’t recognize it without me trying to “open with” it.

  3. NOT i want
    I was miss click set default for file .erl and i want restore it to default.
    and in “Choose default add by files type” don’t have anything for restore it or set to another app too.

  4. Hi All I just opened regedit.exe, searched for file extention (.abc) then deleted everything ending with .abc, now i have the pick app in properties. Hope this helps

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