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How to Change Default Apps in Windows 10

2 Mins read


Last Updated on November 1, 2021 by ViCadia

The moment you install Windows and log in for the first time, Microsoft will offer you the default applications and settings. Most of us will just spam the “next” button and finish that first process. But that will lead us to a “problem.” Windows will set Edge as the default web browser, Bing as the default search engine, and so on. But don’t worry – it’s possible to change that very easily. In this text, we will go through certain settings and show you how to easily change default apps in Windows 10.

By default, Windows comes with a handy list of applications which it uses to open certain types of files. If you try to open a .docx document, Windows will start Word. If you try to run an .mp3 file, Windows will launch a specific application to play the media files. These applications are called “default applications “. If you want to open a file with a non-default application, you will need to right-click on it and select the “Open with” option. From the drop-down menu, you can then select the application you want to open a specific file with.

When you install a new application, say a music player, Windows will not set it as the default application for audio file types. You must manually set within Windows Settings a specific application to become a default app. To do this, follow these instructions:

  • Go to Settings > Apps
  • In the left pane, click on “Default Apps”. You will now see the default apps for emails, web browser, music, etc.
  • For example, if you want to change the application you open photos with, click on it. You will be shown other applications that you can set as default. For example, if you have the IrfanView application installed, you will be able to set it as the default photo viewer application.

If the application you are looking for is not installed or you are not satisfied with the applications offered, this panel will offer you to search for applications within the Microsoft Store. There is a good chance that you will not find the application you are looking for there. But don’t let that discourage you. Install the application you want to use yourself, and repeat the above steps to set the default application.


But that’s not all. There are also some other default applications. At the bottom of this page in the settings you will see three more menus:

  • Choose default apps by file type: this menu allows you to associate a file type or extension (.pdf, .docx, .mp3, etc.) with the default application
  • Choose default apps by protocol: here you can choose which application you want to run when you open a URI protocol such as “mailto” or “ftp”
  • Set defaults by app: Here you can manage all other applications and extensions that you can open on your computer

Sometimes you will run into a problem where Windows will not change the default web browser or will return to its default program after a while. If this happens, try uninstalling first and then installing your favorite web browser. That should solve the problem. After reinstalling the web browser, go to Settings > Apps > Default Apps and set up the web browser. Save the changes, and then reset the computer.

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About author
Before he joined ViCadia, Nicholas worked as a journalist for several tech magazines. Over the years he gained a lot of knowledge about computers. His main area of interest are processors, motherboards, and operating systems.
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