2011-01-12 13:24:59

How to enable or disable application set as the default program?

There are many software applications available which basically perform the same function, such as playing audio files, viewing photos, browsing the Internet, etc. Very often these applications will compete with each other for the rights to open its associated files on your PC.
When this happens, than for example,  the user may be puzzled as to why a different media player opened his music. Often this problem is caused after a new application that is able to open the same files is installed on the PC or a program is patched or updated. However this issue can very often be avoided if the program being installed has the possibility of setting options as to allow or disallow the new application to associate file types, or to be a default program for that file extension.

If you already have your program installed and want to have it set as the default program, try to close and re-open the application. It will often ask you if you wish to se it as the default program, which is often the case of internet browsers. Occasionally some programs may even do it without asking the permission from the user.

Below are information about how to manually set some of the most common application used as the default program for their file actions in Microsoft Windows XP and lower.

Apple QuickTime

Follow these steps to associate the audio, video, and other media files with Apple QuickTime. Also if you have other media players installed make sure you enable or disable their associations first so there are no conflicts when you enable or disable the default program to Apple QuickTime.

  1. Open Apple QuickTime by clicking Start → Programs → QuickTime, and then clicking on QuickTime Player to launch the application. If QuickTime is not found, it means it is not installed on your PC.
  2. Once the application is opened, click Edit → Preferences and then click on the QuickTime Preferences.
  3. Click the down arrow next to About QuickTime and select File Type Association. Then click on the File Types tab.
  4. Once you are in the File Association Settings window, check or uncheck each of the file associations to enable or disable it to be associated with QuickTime.

Microsoft Internet Explorer

If you have another browser installed in your computer and want to use Microsoft Internet Explorer as default browser, follow the steps below. If you also have another Internet browsers installed in your PC you may need to disable their default browser options first, otherwise each time you launch browser, they will try to overwrite the default program settings.

  1. Launch the Microsoft Internet Explorer either through icon on the desktop, quick launch bar on in the start menu.
  2. Click on ToolsInternet Options and select the Programs tab.
  3. Check the "Tell me if Internet Explorer is not the default web browser" option. If you do not wish Microsoft Internet Explorer to check if it is the default browser every time you launch it, uncheck this option.

Microsoft Windows Media Player

Microsoft's Media Player is capable of playing a great range of file types. If there is a certain file format that you want to not be associated with Windows Media Player follow these steps below. Make sure that if you  have other media players installed on your PC you may need to alter their association too, so they do not collide with Windows Media Player.

  1. Open Windows Media Player by clicking Start →  ProgramsAccessoriesEntertainment and then clicking Windows Media Player, or alternatively you can launch it from desktop, if you have Microsoft Windows Media Player icon on it..
  2. Once the application is opened, click on ToolsOptions. If you by a chance don't see the top menu, just click on the down arrow in the top right corner of the window.
  3. In the Options window select the File Types tab.
  4. Check or uncheck each of the boxes you wish to have Windows Media Player associated with., so for example, if you do not wish that the Windows Media Player is playing your AVI files for you  uncheck it from the settings.

Mozilla Firefox

If you have Mozilla Firefox installed on your computer and want it to be your default browser, just follow these steps below. If you have another Internet browsers installed on your PC, you may need to disable their default browser options first, otherwise the browsers will ask you if they should be the default browser, every time you launch one of them.

  1. Start Mozilla Firefox
  2. Click Tools and then Options
  3. Under the General section select or deselect "Firefox should check to see if it is the default browser when starting" option.  If you do not want that Mozilla Firefox performs this check every time it launches,  make sure that this option is not checked.


RealPlayer is a popular media player that associates itself with any audio or video files it is capable of playing. If there is any audio or video file format you do or do not want to be associated with RealPlayer follow these steps.

  1. Open RealPlayer by clicking StartPrograms → and RealPlayer or launch it from desktop if the application icon is present there.
  2. Click on ToolsPreferences.
  3. In the Preferences window click on the "+" next to Content and select Media Types.
  4. Select the "Manually configure media types for RealPlayer" option and click on the Select button.
  5. Check or uncheck the file types you want associated with RealPlayer.


Winamp is a very popular media player that associates itself with audio and video files that it is able to play. If there is a certain file extension you do not wish to have associated with Winamp follow the step below. If you have other media players installed on your computer you may also need to enable or disable their association, so there are no future conflicts with Winamp.

  1. Start Winamp either by clicking StartProgramsWinamp and then clicking Winamp, or by launching it from desktop.
  2. Click on OptionsPreferences.
  3. Under File Types tab highlight the file types you want to be associated with Winamp. If you do not wish that Winamp is associated with a particular file format, remove the highlight of that file type.

Other programs

In general you can try the same on other programs installed on your computer, if they collide with each other and fight for the rights to open certain file type. These settings are usually in some sort of setting tab, called often Tools, Setup, Settings, Preferences or Options. Also you can uninstall unwanted programs to remove their associations. 


Related software and links:

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Microsoft Windows    Microsoft Windows platform
A series of operating systems developed by Microsoft


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