How to Restore File Type Associations in Windows 11

laptop 5437167 640
laptop 5437167 640

This post shows students and new users steps to reset or restore file types or app associations when using Windows 11 to resolve issues where the wrong programs are associated to file types. By default, Windows 11 can only open programs per file type automatically.

If multiple photo programs are installed, only one will be assigned and used to open the PNG file type automatically.

PNG file type can be opened with other photo programs, but manually. If you want a specific program to open a specific file type, then changing the default file association for the specific file will be required.

Using app association for file extension is a per-user profile setting. One user’s default file association will not the same for all other users on the system. Each user will need to be signed into their account and set the default associations for file types. This is also the case if you want to reset or restore Windows default file type associations.

File type associations aren’t new to Windows 11. Previous versions of Windows also allow app association per file type.

To get started with restoring file type association in Windows 11, follow the steps below:

How to reset file type associations in Windows 11

If you feel that the wrong apps are being opened for specific file types, you can reset the file type associations in Windows 11.

Windows 11 has a centralized location for the majority of its settings. Everything can be done from system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows from its System Settings pane.

To get to System Settings, you can use the Windows key + I shortcut or click on Start ==> Settings as shown in the image below:

Alternatively, you can use the search box on the taskbar and search for Settings. Then select to open it.

Windows Settings pane should look similar to the image below. In Windows Settings, click Apps, then select Defaults on the right pane of your screen shown in the image below.

On the Defaults settings pane, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click on the Reset button as highlighted below:

On the pop-up windows, click OK to accept that “All changes you’ve made will be reset to Microsoft recommended app defaults

That should do it!


This post showed you how to reset or restore app defaults in Windows 11. If you find any error above, please use the comment form below to report.

Posted by
Richard W

I love computers; maybe way too much. What I learned I try to share at

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