How to Stop Photos App from Resetting Image File Associations?

This post explains how to prevent the modern Photos app from taking over the defaults for all image files types. We saw how to prevent Edge from taking over the PDF and HTM association settings. The same method can be used for the Photos app, or for any other app for that matter.

When no file association (user choice) is set or if an application corrupts the UserChoice registry key while setting association, file association is automatically reset to Windows 10 defaults. For instance, Photos may takeover your image file associations after an update, or due to the above mentioned reasons and the Action Center notifies you that an app default was reset.

"An app caused a problem with the default app setting for .png, so it was reset to Photos"


Update: You can automate the following using a Registry File. You can download it from article Prevent Windows 10 From Resetting File Associations (Registry Fixes) which is based on the following edit.


To stop Photos from hijacking the image file associations use these steps.

Start the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe) and go to:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\AppModel\Repository\Packages\Microsoft.Windows.Photos_16.201.11370.0_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe\App\Capabilities\FileAssociations

Note: The above key only applies if you have version Photos v16.201.11370.0_x64 installed, which is the current version as of this post. If you have any other version or build number, choose the appropriate key. It will be usually in this format:

Microsoft.Windows.Photos_nn.nnn.nnnnn.n_x64__8wekyb3d8bbwe, Where the nnn… is a placeholder for the actual version/build no. Also watch out for the "bit"ness.

In the right-pane, note down the Prog IDs assigned for an image file type, say .jpg. In this case, the Prog ID for .jpg is AppX43hnxtbyyps62jhe9sqpdzxn1790zetc

(The Prog Id in this case, is the same for other image file types as well, like .PNG, .JPE, .JPEG, .JPG, .ICO, .GIF, .JFIF etc.)

Go to the following location:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppX43hnxtbyyps62jhe9sqpdzxn1790zetc

In the right-pane, create a string value (REG_SZ) named NoOpenWith

This prevents Photos app from taking over the image files type associations.

Exit the Registry Editor.

Now use Default Programs or the Open With dialog to re-associate the file type with your preferred program. Note that this also hides Photos in the Open With dialog boxes for the corresponding file types. If an update removes the NoOpenWith value, or if the ProgID name changes, you’ll need to set the value again under the appropriate ProgID key.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and has a vast experience in the ITeS industry — delivering support for Microsoft's consumer products. He has been a Microsoft MVP [2003 to 2012] who contributes to various Windows support forums.

3 thoughts on “How to Stop Photos App from Resetting Image File Associations?

  1. Registry entry is already there. MSW still steals the file association. I guess the folks in Redmond are too ARROGANT to obey what their users tell them to do. Time to smack a few project heads with a clue-by-four. Or do a mass migration of all MSWin systems to Linux (which would probably have better results).

  2. Mine already had the ‘NoOpenWith’ string value in there, and Photos still hijacks some of my photo associations … mainly just .jpg files as far as I can tell.

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