Sometimes you will need to tell your computer to open a file using a different program than the default program. Whenever you create a file in Windows, it is tied to a specific program. When you create a Microsoft Word document, Microsoft Word can read it.There are two ways to open a file in order to view its contents. You can either open the program that created the file, like Microsoft Word, then open the file that you created, or you can simply find the file you created with Microsoft Word and open it directly. When you open a file that was authored by a particular program, the associated program will open and your file will be displayed, heard, seen, etc.
To change file assocations in Windows Vista:
1. Click your Start Button.
2. Click Control Panel.
3. When the control panel loads, find the Default Programs icon and double click it.
4. Click ‘Associate a File Type or protocol with program.’ You should see a very extensive list of file extensions (3 character extensions) and the program that has been set to open those files.
5. Find the file type that you wish to change, for example, *.TIF. TIFF is the way we write it, but Windows sees the file as TIF.
6. You’ll see that the .tif extension is set to open with a specific program. On my computer, Adobe Photoshop handles all TIF files. Adobe photoshop takes a long time to load, so it may not be the best solution. On your computer, it may be some other application, like Adobe Photoshop Starter Edition, or Kodak Easyshare, or XNView. Since it is a graphic file, and there are hundreds of graphic applications out there, there’s absolutely no way to know which one you have without looking here. This would also be true for your clients.
7. To change the association, click the Change Program button on the top right.
8. A list of recommended applications will appear. If you have Microsoft Office installed on this computer, you may see Microsoft Office Picture Manager. You’ll also notice Windows Photo Gallery. It is up to you at this point. You can choose either, or if you have even more programs that handle graphics on your computer, you could browse to find one of those programs as well.
The program that you choose to open your files is usually personal preference. Some files require they be opened by the program that created them, like Microsoft Word, or Photoshop. Most graphic programs can read TIFF files, JPG, BMP, PNG, etc.
9. After you have selected the program you want, click okay. Your computer will be reset to open that file-type in the program you chose. If you chose a program that cannot handle that particular file-type, Windows is not going to know and when you attempt to open it, you may receive an error. For instance, Microsoft Word cannot open JPG files or TIFF files, but Windows will allow you associate JPG files with Microsoft Word, so you just have to be careful what you choose.
That’s it. Go ahead and try opening a file with the extension you just edited to see how your system responds.