How to Restore Default File Types in Vista and Windows 7
By on February 23rd, 2010

registry iconA few weeks ago, I told you how to repair the default image file types in Windows XP. At the time, I wasn’t aware of any utilities that could help you restore file types in Vista or Windows 7. I should have guessed that Ramesh Srinivasan would make good on his word. I had seen an old post which said he’d be working on something to help out.

Why would you need to restore a default file type?

You probably already know that a file type is controlled by the last letters after the dot in a file name. When you install new applications, sometimes the new app takes over the opening of some file types automatically. If you installed a new music player, you might discover that all .MP3 files now open up in the new player. That’s fine if you like the new player, but what if you don’t? You can re-assign the MP3 file type to another player by using the Open Withmenu when you right click on an MP3.

If you want Windows to use the default player that Microsoft had originally chosen for MP3 files, you might have trouble figuring out how to do that. I have found that it’s also sometimes tricky to get the defaults back on image file types. Fortunately, there are a few scripts and utilities that can help.

Using .REG Scripts

Ramesh has a page on his site that helps you restore a few Windows 7 file types to their defaults. He also has a page that lets you restore Vista file types to their defaults. Read the instructions on those pages to use REG (registry) scripts to make the changes.

Here’s a list of the file types that can be changed there:

AUDIOCD, AVI, BAT, BMP, CHM, CMD, COM, DVR-MS, EXE, GIF, HTM, HTML, ICO, INF, IMG, JPE, JPEG, JPG, JS, LNK, MP3, MPE, MPG, MSC, MPEG, REG, SCR, TIF, TIFF, TXT, VBS, WMA, WMV, WSF, XML, XPS, ZIP, FOLDER, DIRECTORY, DRIVE

Using the Unassoc Utility

While looking around, I also found that Ramesh has a utility, named Unassoc, that lets you Unassociate User File Types in Vista and Windows 7. I learned that when you unassociate a User file type, it changes to the global file type. I many cases, that’s the original defaultfile type. Here’s how the Unassoc utility works.

unassoc-remove-user-filetype

When you launch Unassoc, you will only see one window with a list and five buttons. You can use the search window at the top to type in the type of file you are looking for. Just remember to put a dot in front of the letters. As you can see, I chose to remove the association I had created for JPEG files. After clicking the Remove file association (User)button, I saw this:

unassoc-removed-message

That’s a simple fix and I really appreciate Ramesh for making it available. I will caution you against using the Delete file typesbutton unless you are very sure that you understand what you are doing.

Download Unassoc

In case you don’t see the download link at WinHelpOnline, below, I’ve circled it’s location on the page. Don’t use that big green download button.

unassoc-download2

You can visit WinHelpOnline to find more tips and fixes for Windows XP, Vista and Seven.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

Using .REG files to reset file types to default is sometimes a life saver for your PC. The Unassoc utility, for removing user file types, is a big plus, and I have no problems recommending it. The only reason I don’t score this utility higher, is that it’s not open source.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

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Author: Clif Sipe Google Profile for Clif Sipe
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Clif Sipe has written and can be contacted at clif@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://www.facebook.com/neon.light.10 Neon Light

    I know this is a very old post, but I just want to say, This works 100% And that this has saved my life! I currently help a few business’ through my virtual network, computer, etc. And I accidentally opened a file that turned all my executable files into notepad files. The Registry fix helped me so much. Thank you!!!

 
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