Did you accidentally use Default Programs or the Open With dialog to associate .exe file types with some application, causing every program to open in that chosen application? Windows provides no option to reset the .exe file associations, and you’ll have to do this manually. For example, one of our readers accidentally associated executable files using Notepad, and this caused Notepad to open every time when a program was launched.

When you use the Open With dialog to associate .exe files with another application, the settings are stored in the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ FileExts \ .exe \ UserChoice

There will be a value named Progid in the right pane. The Progid data will contain the application’s exe file name (Applications\Notepad.exe, Applications\IExplore.exe, or a Programatic Identifier such as txtfile, jpegfile etc).

Note that despite this problem, you should be able to launch applications by double-clicking on the data files. For example, with the above setting, you should be able to launch Microsoft Word application by double-clicking on a .doc file, but not by running Winword.exe directly.)


You need to delete the UserChoice key above using a REG file or a script. Download exefix_cu.reg, and save it to Desktop. Right-click on the REG file and choose Merge.

(Hint: To undo the Open With setting for other file types, the registry location is the same. Replace the text .exe in the above registry path with the actual file extension.)


HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ FileExts \ .xyz \ UserChoice

Where .xyz is the file extension for which you want to undo the Open With action.

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  1. archie
    said this on Thursday, July 24th 2014 1:46 pm

    duuuuude !!! you rock!! this totally worked, i’m bak in business

  2. Parzival
    said this on Monday, May 19th 2014 10:23 am

    How do you know and find the “actual file extension?”

  3. Brock Hopkins
    said this on Thursday, May 15th 2014 8:11 am

    I need help doing this. You lose me after you say save that file to the desktop

  4. Chris
    said this on Tuesday, April 8th 2014 9:29 pm

    Well Thank you very much …

  5. Jackson
    said this on Monday, April 7th 2014 2:33 am

    Thanks a lot bra… but there is still that notepad logo in each program…

  6. Firstfruits1st
    said this on Thursday, April 3rd 2014 11:11 am

    Whew!! Thank you.

  7. gokul
    said this on Wednesday, March 26th 2014 4:18 pm

    I tried it .
    but it shows that .reg files is successfully added .
    then nothing happens .
    plz help me (anyone above)

  8. Ira
    said this on Monday, March 24th 2014 4:37 pm

    exefix_cu.reg doesnt download, it goes from another webpage!

  9. Naomi
    said this on Sunday, March 9th 2014 1:52 am

    Wow, this worked like a charm, THANK YOU!! It was a little tricky to download the file, since I couldn’t open any browser with Notepad (ugh). So I created the .reg file on another Windows device using Notepad (my nemesis!), transferred that to my Kindle, then copied from the Kindle to the Windows 7 desktop on the sick machine. Right click to Merge… let it do it’s thing. Restarted the device, held my breath (for a what seemed like an eternity), and all is well. Whew! Much appreciated!

  10. Santheev Sreedharan
    said this on Monday, March 3rd 2014 5:47 pm

    muuhhhaaaaaaa i loved it, super thx a lottttttttttttttttttttttttttt

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