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Setting default programs on your new laptop

Windows has a habit of trying to be helpful and in most cases it gets things right, however, there are times when you need to take control

Windows has a habit of trying to be helpful and in most cases it gets things right, however, there are times when you need to take control and make the choices for yourself. One such occasion is managing which application opens a particular file type on your PC.

There are a few reasons why you might want to control which software opens your files. For example, if you install new software it can often simply decide that you want to open all your pictures with that application or maybe you have a few different word processors and when you double-click on a text file it opens a random application instead of your preferred choice.

To setup your default programs in Windows 8 go to search in the Charm Bar and type in Default Programs and click on it in the search results, click on Set your default programs. After a short delay all the applications on your computer will be listed, to edit their status simply highlight them on the list.

There are two options for you to choose from in the Default Programs control panel. First, you can choose an application to be the default and Windows will automatically assume that the most appropriate file types for that software are to be opened with it. For example, Google Chrome will open by default when you click on a web link or Outlook will open in preference to Windows 8 Mail if you click on an email address on a website. Second you can choose to drill down even further and choose exactly what file type is handled by each application. Click on Choose Defaults for this program and you can select which file extensions (.doc, .xls, .docx) open in which app when you double-click them.

Visit the Dell Tech Zone for more advice on family computing.

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