Restore default file association in Windows Vista and Windows 7

Windows Vista and Windows 7 allows you to change the program used to open a file. Sometime We set wrong association with file type and there is no option to revert back to default settings. So here is the only way to do that.

How To:

1. Run Registry Editor and navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\[Extension]
2. Expand the [extension] key and choose UserChoice key and delete all its sub keys
3. If it doesn’t work, delete the UserChoice key itself.

NOTE: To revert back to all default file association as we get after fresh clean installation of Windows Vista, We can delete all sub keys under FileExts.

Applies To:

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008
  • Windows Vista
  • Evelyn N.

    Too confusing for a newb.

  • SimonR

    CurrentVersion doesn’t appear for me under windows im using windows 7

  • jsmith0552

    Thank you. This is the clearest tutorial on how to fix this problem that I’ve found.

    I was beginning to think I was screwed!

  • faiq

    wheres the extension ?

  • problem

    it didnt work for me … i dont get it

    i did everything and the notepad just came back every time and nothing changed in the first place.. then i deleted whole .sav and the notepad persisted … though i successfuly removed acrobat reader

  • adas

    ok now no extension..

  • adas


  • dutty

    ok i found it its, regedit.exe when read registry editor taught it was another file.. thanks works..

    live saving tutor

  • dutty

    and how to get the registery editor.. i searched from start its not on windows , must i have to download it.. thanks awaiting reply

    • adas


    • adas

      or just download

  • dutty

    am on server 2008 r2, i have a file which is supposed to run with python.. but i mistakely set to cmd.. and when i go to control panel and try change it has the always use the selected program to open this file pre-saved that i can’t thick it anylonger , and for that reason i can’t run the script has it keeps opening in cmd… pls help

  • Craig Twedt

    This post saved me a lot of trouble. Solution worked fine. Thank You! Regards, Craig

  • Renaisan

    but, i cant open the task manager…what should i do?

    • Author

      What happens when you try to open/run Task Manager?
      Use Ctrl+Shift+Esc shortcut key or Right click on Taskbar and choose Start Task Manager