Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


"Default Programs" Control Panel Does Not Set Associations

  1. #1

    "Default Programs" Control Panel Does Not Set Associations


    In Windows 8.1 Update 1 I cannot change file associations whether I try to do so from Control Panel or from within an application. For example, here's the popular VLC Media Player file association preferences:

    Click image for larger version
    I cannot select (put a check mark) or de-select (remove a check mark) from any individual file association. If I click on the selection box, nothing happens. I have the same problem even if I open the application with elevated privileges. I can check the Select All box and all associations will be selected, but that's all I can do.

    I can go to individual files and choose Open with and that association will stick, but it's far easier to select an application's default file associations at one time.

    How can I make the Default Programs control panel set file associations?

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 22,577
    64-bit Windows 10


    Hello Daddyman,

    Does clicking on Set this program as default for VLC in Default Programs like in step 4 below set them all to be associated to VLC?

    Default Programs - Set Your Default Programs in Windows 8
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Hi and thanks once again for your help.

    In Option One, whether I choose Set this program as default or Choose defaults for this program, no changes occur if I click on a selection box: Checkmarks are not added to unchecked boxes and checkmarks are not removed from checked boxes.


    In Option Two, the settings are identical to what I have if I open the Default Programs control panel and choose Associate a file type or protocol with your program. Same functionality - it just looks different in the Modern interface. I can change a file association this way, but this method has two shortcomings:

    1. I have to scroll through all the hundreds of file extensions listed and choose which I want to associate with VLC. Besides being tedious, there are plenty of file extensions that I don't recognize that perhaps should be associated with VLC Media Player.
    2. This method doesn't allow me to remove a file association; it only allows me to change a file association to something else. For example: I can't remove the association between .bin files and VLC. I can only change the association to another program.


    I should be able to succeed with the steps in Option One - why can't I?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    I have a partial solution to my problem. It seems that beginning with Windows 8 users can no longer remove a file association - you can only change a file association to something else. That would explain why I cannot remove a checkmark in Control Panel > Default Programs > Set your default programs (Step One in the tutorial.). Fortunately, there is a work-around for this.


    This work-around has probably been published elsewhere but I saw it in this thread. Here's how to remove a file association in Windows 8/8.1:

    1. Create a text file (.txt) on the desktop.
    2. Change the file (rename it) to give it an .exe file extension.
    3. Right click on any file with the extension whose association you want to remove, then go to Properties > Change. The "How do you want to open this type of file?" dialog box opens.
    4. Click on the "More options" link.
    5. A list of programs will come up. Scroll to the bottom and click the "Look for another app on this PC" link.
    6. Browse to the .exe file you created and associate the extension with it. Hit Apply and OK.
    7. Now delete the .exe you created and your extension has no associated application.



    So far so good, but I still can't add a checkmark in Control Panel > Default Programs > Set your default programs.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 22,577
    64-bit Windows 10


    Odd. I'm not sure why you can set them using "Open with", but not in Default Programs.

    Is this just happening with VLC file associations?

    Have you already tried to see if you may be able to set the associations in VLC itself to make it the default program?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Okay, this is a little strange, but here is where I'm at right now.

    In Control Panel > Default Programs > Set your default programs I went through every program listed there. I definitely cannot remove a checkmark from any file association box that is already checked. However, I can add a checkmark to a file association box that is not already checked - despite what I wrote earlier - and the file association sticks. I have to use the work-around described above to remove the file association I selected. I don't know why I couldn't add a checkmark before but I can now.

    I also chose three programs that let you select file associations within the program. Typically these are media players so I chose VLC and QuickTime but I also chose ImgBurn (disc burning.) I definitely cannot remove a checkmark from any file association box that is already checked. However, I can add a checkmark to a file association box that is not already checked in QuickTime and VLC - despite what I wrote earlier - and the file association sticks, but I cannot add a file association in ImgBurn.

    I don't know why I can now add a file association when I couldn't before, but I definitely cannot remove a file association without the workaround.

    If Windows 8/8.1 really doesn't let users remove file associations, that's just the way it is. But the fact that I can add file associations in VLC and QuickTime but not in ImgBurn tells me this is basically a registry keys permission issue.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 22,577
    64-bit Windows 10


    Hopefully that will reduce how many you will need to use "Open with" for.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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