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Published on 08.15.07 by Brent Trahan

Associate a File Type or Protocol with a Specific Program

Learn how to set a certain program to open a certain type of file or protocol.


Let’s say you want all .mp3 files to be played using a media player you purchased or downloaded instead of Windows Media Player (the default). This guide shows you how to associate certain file types (.mp3 or .jpg for example) and protocols with a certain program.

Associate a File Type or Protocol with a Program

In this example I’m going to associate all .png files with Internet Explorer instead of Windows Photo Gallery.

If you don’t know a file’s extension (.png) check out my guide on how to show file extensions.

  1. Open the Control panel.
  2. Double-click Default Programs.
  3. Click Associate a file type of protocol with a specific program.
  4. Find the type of file (a .png file in this example) or protocol in the list.


    Hint: To quickly find a file type or protocol click anywhere on the list and type the file type or protocol (.png in this example).

  5. Double-click the file type or protocol and an Open with window will appear.


  6. Windows Vista suggests what programs you can use to open the file or protocol with under Recommended Programs. If the program you want to use is not listed, click the down arrow to the right of Other Programs. If you can’t find the program there, click the Browse button and browse to the program manually.
  7. Click OK once you’ve made your selection on which programs to use.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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2 Responses to “Associate a File Type or Protocol with a Specific Program”

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  1. hi says:

    What if the file protocol (st) isn’t on the list.

    I have StreamTorrent installed on my computer, but firefox has no reference to the (st) protocol.

    Of course I can successfully copy and paste the link into StreamTorrent directly. But why isn’t it on the list?

  2. Harold Camacho says:

    very helpful, thanks

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