When you double-click a file, any type of file, and it doesn't open
correctly, or it doesn't open with the correct program or application, you may
need to fix it with Windows. This is called file association. You may need to
repair it/them. This often happens if you install an application such as Open
Office and allow it to take over your file extensions. Perhaps you then decide
you don't like Open Office, so you uninstall it, and Microsoft Office doesn't
automatically "take back" the file associations.
The first thing you should know is that Windows looks at the file's
extension, and from that, assigns the application and the icon. The first clue
that you've lost a file association is that the icon changes to something else
or changes to the "default" Windows or other unrecognizable icon.
First determine the file type. Right-click the filename and
choose Properties. If the name in the box at the top doesn't show a file
extension, then you should go set Windows to show them.
Show File Extensions on Windows XP
Open My Computer. Hit ToolsŕFolder
options, View tab. Uncheck Hide File Extensions for known file types.
Now you should be able to see the file extension by viewing
the properties of the file.
If you don't know what kind of file the extension is for, you
can usually find out at this website.
Associate the File Types
Once you know which program you want to associate your files
with, right-click and choose Open With.
If the application you want to use doesn't appear in the
"short" list, then hit Choose Program... From there, you can choose any
program on your machine. If you want to permanently associate this file type
with a specific program, check the "Always use the selected..." as shown
below. Hit OK.
Beth Melton, Microsoft MVP for Microsoft Word, made me realize I need to
include these instructions here because...well, because I saw her post it
Beth says the /regserver switch will re-register the
application, which will recreate all of the application-specific Registry
entries and it also recreates the file associations. Since the "Open with"
command uses the file associations you'll still encounter errors if the file
associations are damaged or corrupt.
Hit Start-->Run and type the command-line switch below into
the box and hit Enter (or click OK). Note that there is a space before the
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