How to Restore File Type Associations in Windows 11

This post shows students and new users steps to reset or restore file types or apps associations when using Windows 11 to resolve issues where the wrong programs are associated to file types. By default, Windows 11 can only open program per file type automatically. If there are multiple photo programs installed, only one of the programs will be assigned and used to open 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 settings. One user’s default file associations will not the same for all other users on the system. Each user will need to be signed in to their account set the default associations for file types. This is also the case if you want to reset or restore Windows default file type associations.

The new Windows 11 comes with many new features with new user desktop, including centered Start menu and taskbar, rounded corners windows, themes and colors that will make any Windows look and feel modern.

File type associations isn’t new to Windows 11. In fact, previous versions of Windows also allow app association per file types.

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 majority of its settings. From system configurations to creating new users and updating Windows, all can be done 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:

windows 11 start settings

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.

windows 11 restore default file type associations

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

windows 11 reset default apps associations

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

windows 11 reset default apps confirm

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.

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