Windows 11 has evolved in numerous ways compared to Windows 10. The new operating system is so much changed, that settings for changing default apps have also been completely changed.
Windows 11 does provide more control under one roof to set a default app but sure has gone overboard with it at places which definitely is able to annoy many users. However, if you are also the one trying to navigate your way to change the default apps of the system like many, give this article a thorough read and you won’t be disappointed.
Windows provides you more than one way to set the default app for a specific file type, you can either set it from the ‘Settings’ app or you can do that from the file explorer as well. Thus, let’s explore both of them.
Set Default Apps by File Type from Windows Settings
With Windows 11, you can set default apps by file type and not being constrained to have a single default app for all the file types of the same family. For instance, you can have Windows Movies & TV app set to default to open
.MOV files and at the same time have VLC set as the default app to open
Though this functionality was available earlier as well, in Windows 11 it is baked right into the Settings app and has never been more accessible.
To set a default app for a specific file type, head to the ‘Settings’ app from the Start Menu of your Windows 11 PC. Alternatively, you can also press the Windows+I shortcut on your keyboard to launch the ‘Settings’ app.
Next, click on the ‘Apps’ option from the left panel of the Settings window.
Now, click on the ‘Default apps’ tile present on the screen.
Next, type the desired file type you want to change the default app for in the search bar present on the top of the page. For instance, we are using
.MPEG file type here which is a common video file format.
The current default app set to open the entered file type will appear on the screen.
Now, click on the current default app tile present under the search bar to change the default app for
.MPEG file type.
After that, choose your preferred app from the overlay menu by clicking on it. Then, click on ‘OK’ to confirm and apply.
In case your preferred installed app is not present on the overlay menu, click on the ‘Look for another app on this PC’ option and locate the
.exe file of your app from your local storage.
If you wish to set different default apps by file type version, scroll all the way down on the ‘Default apps’ screen and click on the ‘Choose defaults by file type’ option.
On the next screen, you will see an alphabetically ordered list of all the file types supported by Windows 11 and the default apps set for them.
Now, search for the file type you wish to change the default app using the search bar, and you will be able to see all the versions for your searched file type in the search results.
Then, click on the app tile under the file type version you wish to change the default app for.
After that, select your desired app from the overlay menu and click on ‘OK’ to confirm and apply.
If you do not find your preferred installed app present on the overlay menu, click on the ‘Look for another app on this PC’ option to locate the
.exe file of your app from your local storage.
Set Default App by File Type from File Explorer
If you do not wish to dive into the ‘Settings’ for such a meager task of switching default apps, You can quickly change the default app for a specific file type straight from the explorer itself.
To do so, first, navigate to a file having the targeted file type you wish to change the default app for from file explorer. Then right-click the file, and hover over the ‘Open with’ option present in the context menu, and then click on the ‘Choose another app’ option.
Now, select the preferred app by clicking on it from the overlay menu and check the box preceding ‘Always use this app to open
.mpeg file’ to default the selected app for the particular file type and then click ‘OK’ to confirm and apply.
Note: The extension mentioned on the overlay menu in the screenshot might change depending on the file type you are selecting a default app.
If you do not see your preferred installed app in the overlay menu, scroll down and click on the ‘Look for another app on this PC’ and locate the
.exe file of your app in your local storage. Otherwise, you can also click on the ‘Look for an app on Microsoft Store’ to download your preferred app from the Microsoft Store.
Configure Defaults for an App in Windows 11
Instead of setting a default app by file type, you can also set a default app for all its supported file types through the ‘Settings’ app on your Windows 11 PC.
To do so, open the ‘Settings’ app from the Start Menu on your Windows machine.
Then, click on the ‘Apps’ from the side panel on your screen.
Now, click on the ‘Default apps’ tile from the ‘Apps’ settings screen.
After that, use the search bar present under the ‘Set defaults for apps’ section to search for your desired app, or else, scroll down and locate the app manually.
Next, click on desired app tile from the list present on your screen.
On the next screen you will be able to see all the file types supported by the app.
Now, click on the default app option under each file type on the screen to change the default app to your preferred choice.
After that, click on your preferred app from the overlay menu to select and click ‘OK’ to confirm and apply.
Now, you will need to repeat this process for all the file types you wish to set your preferred app default.
Well folks, those are all the ways you can set and configure the default apps in Windows 11.