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File extension madness, Windows Vista / 7 style

Last time I wrote about the old way of associating file types and file extensions with a program. I've since tried Default Programs, the new way of handling file associations starting with Windows Vista. You still have to register the file types in HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT in order to set the defaults (or more specifically HKLM\Software\Classes or HKCU\Software\Classes as required), but afterward you use the Default Programs mechanism to select the user mapping. This has the following advantages:

And... that's about it. Now for the bad parts:

As such, I'd say the new Default Programs system is not an improvement over the old way of doing file type associations. Sadly, the way things are, there isn't much choice unless you're willing to start hacking the Explorer registry keys, which I couldn't recommend as a good choice.


This blog was originally open for comments when this entry was first posted, but was later closed and then removed due to spam and after a migration away from the original blog software. Unfortunately, it would have been a lot of work to reformat the comments to republish them. The author thanks everyone who posted comments and added to the discussion.