Windows 10 lets you choose the default app you want to use to open specific file types — but it can be a bit of a pain to actually do it.

Now the company is beginning to roll out an update to members of the Windows Insider Preview program that makes things a lot easier.

Rather than scrolling through an enormous list of file types until you find PDF, MP3, or whatever you’re looking for, you’ll be able to just type a file type into the search bar.

The new behavior is baked into the Settings app of Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 19608, which is rolling out starting today.

Microsoft says it’s starting by making the search tool available to half of Insiders in the Fast ring while the company solicits feedback before rolling it out more widely. Folks who don’t want to beta test pre-release software will have to wait a bit longer for the feature to make it into a stable build of Windows 10 sometime down the road.

Other updates in Windows 10 Build 19608 include a number of bug fixes and some new features for the Your Phone app, including:

  • The previously-announced support for dragging and dropping files between a PC and Samsung phone
  • Support for cross-device copy & paste on more models of Samsung phones
  • UI updates

You can find more details in Microsoft’s blog post announcing Build 19608.

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3 replies on “Windows 10: Choosing default apps for file types to get way easier”

  1. This is kind of funny in a sad way, because what that dialog to change file associations lacks in windows 10 is not a search function but the option to actually change the app associated with the file name. When you click on the app, you get the selection of apps windows deems appropriate (Which often is just the app selected) and to search in the windows store for an app. That’s it. No option to choose another app installed or on the hard drive.

    So yeah, search. Much appreciated.

    1. I remember using the Default Programs settings app in Windows 10 before and remember thinking it was terrible, but I thought there is no way this is correct, I would have remembered something like that. So I went and checked and, lo-and-behold, you are absolutely right! I can’t believe what an oversight this is, especially since they had that in Windows 7. This is one of the worst examples of going backwards I have seen in Windows 10. You probably already know this but you can open Windows Explorer, right click on a file of the file type you are wanting to change the default program for and then click “open with”, then choose the option to “choose another app”. Once that window opens up, you have to scroll to the bottom of the list, click on “more apps”, then scroll to the bottom of the new, longer list, and you will finally see “look for another app on this pc”. This lets you pick an app that Windows does not recognize and list as an option for you. If you also check the box to “always use this app to open this file type”, that will make it the default app for that file type. What an absurd and convoluted process for something that used to be so easy. The only reason I can think why Microsoft did this is to discourage people from switching away from the default Microsoft apps bundled with Windows. Pathetic if you ask me, am I am a something of a “fan” of Microsoft and Windows.

      On a side note, I also miss the option they had in Windows 7 to choose a program then simply restore all of that programs file extension defaults. It was a very quick and easy way to make your favorite programs open all of the file types they believe they are good for. If you needed to make some small tweaks for certain file types that was an easy fix. I don’t know why they got rid of that option as well, I used it from time to time.

  2. The revolution … is back.
    Didn’t Win 7 have one of those?

    To be fair this is a god send, since windows updates tend to destroy your default setting pretty much constantly.
    Here have a Edge instead of your Firefox, Chrome or whatever, it’s GREAT! @M$

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