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How to switch default programs on Windows 11

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When you open a file on your computer, it launches into the application set as the default program: a text file will open in notepad while the music will play in Windows Media Player. However, you may want to use a different application by default instead of the one Microsoft wants you to use. Fortunately, it is quite simple and can be done with a few taps. Here are some ways you can change the default apps in Windows 11.

How to change the default apps in Windows 11

In Windows 11, you can’t just choose an application to play all the types of video files I mentioned earlier. You must choose an application to open each one individually. That’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on the Apps section in the left menu. The Settings application is more hidden than in Windows 10; On that operating system, the Settings app is always available just above the Start button. In Windows 11, you should look for a gray gear icon. You can pin the Settings icon to the Start menu in Windows 11, but it’s not there by default.
  2. Choose the second option, Default apps. Instead of displaying the type of application like Windows 10 does, Windows 11 lists all the applications on your machine. You can search for an application or the type of file that you want to assign to an application.
  3. Click on the application that you want to set as the default for a file type and you will see the list of all the file types that it is capable of handling: Notice here that Microsoft Photos is handling all types of photo files, as the icons from that program are listed below. to the file extension entry.
  4. Click the file type for which you want to change the default application. Then you will see a menu.
  5. The last step is to simply choose an application from the list. (By the way, this app selection dialog is one of the few window types for which Microsoft didn’t add rounded corners.) After that, you need to repeat the process for each type of file that you want to use with that application.

Another way to change a default application is to right-click a file in File Explorer, click Open With (which is more conveniently and consistently the second option in the Windows 11 context menu), and then choose the Choose another app option. Doing so opens the same application selection box as in the first process, except for a check box for “Always use this application to open files. “After that, just check the box and hit OK.

The easiest way: on installation

With the first method, you have to understand what types of files you want to work with, although I hope most PC users know that JPG is an image and DOC is a document. That said, the process of changing the default apps in Windows 10 is even easier because it allows you to do it for all relevant file types at once. That is still a possibility for some applications on Windows 11. Firefox, the popular privacy-focused web browser, and VLC, a Swiss army knife for multimedia libraries, are two examples.


The first time you run it in Windows 11, the Firefox web browser asks if you want it to be your default web browser. If you don’t make this choice on the first run, Firefox continues to display a banner at the top of the browser window with this message. In my tests, choosing the option at the beginning or the one with the banner, both did the job without problems.

Surprisingly, Google hasn’t implemented an easy way to make Chrome the default browser on Windows 11. Making that browser’s default option requires you to go into Settings as described above and change each file type one at a time.

VLC media player

VLC is an old-school open source application that is famous for being able to play almost any media file. Choosing to make VLC the default media player on installation sets it as such for over 70 file types. Unfortunately, several important file types remained within the scope of the Movies & TV and Groove music apps. In the VLC preferences, there is an option called File Extensions Association, but that simply tells you to go to the Settings> Applications> Default Applications section as described above.

Final remarks: How to switch default programs on Windows 11

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James Hogan
James Hogan
James Hogan is a notable content writer recognized for his contributions to Bollyinside, where he excels in crafting informative comparison-based articles on topics like laptops, phones, and software. When he's not writing, James enjoys immersing himself in football matches and exploring the digital realm. His curiosity about the ever-evolving tech landscape drives his continuous quest for knowledge, ensuring his content remains fresh and relevant.
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