[Fix] Can’t Change File Association via Default Apps in Windows 11

After installing third-party software on your Windows 11 computer, the ability to associate file types such as JPG, JPE, JPEG, PNG, MPG, MPEG, and other file types may be hampered. Here are the issues you may encounter when attempting to change the file association for the said file types.

When you right-click on an image file such as .jpg, click Open With, and select Choose another app, the “Always use this app to open .jpg files” checkbox is missing.

windows 11 jpg/png association fix

If you right-click on the image file and click Properties, the “Change…” button is missing:

windows 11 jpg/png association fix

In the Settings → Apps → Default apps dialog, the “Choose a default” button would be grayed out when you type the file extension (e.g., .jpg, .png, etc.) in the text box.

windows 11 jpg/png association fix

As a result, you may be unable to change the file association for image (and some video) file types.

Cause

This issue occurs due to the presence of the NoOpenWith registry value for Photos and other modern apps. Third-party programs like IrfanView have an option to change the associations in the System Registry (for XP, Vista, Win7, Win8) systems.

During the IrfanView setup, the user may have enabled the checkbox and selected image file types from the list. Some users have reported that the same issue happened after installing an app named JPEGView.

windows 11 jpg/png association fix

However, IrfanView clearly warns that the “Try to change associations in System-Registry” is meant only for pre-Windows 10 systems. As you may have already known, modifying file association settings in the registry would cause issues in Windows 10 and Windows 11 due to a hash mechanism in place.

The fix is very simple, though!

[Solution] Can’t Associate File Types Using Default Apps

To fix the file association problem in Default Apps, follow one of the methods below:

(Editor’s note: Method 1 is preferred as it works well regardless of which program is currently associated with the chosen file type. Also, this method is suitable for any file type, not necessarily an image or video file type.)

Method 1: Remove the NoOpenWith registry values Using FileTypesMan and Registry Editor

  1. Download FileTypesMan (a portable and freeware tool) from the following link:
    https://www.nirsoft.net/utils/file_types_manager.html
  2. Run FileTypesMan.
  3. Select the file extension from the list. For example, if you cannot associate .JPG files using Default Apps, select .jpg from the list.windows 11 default apps can't associate file
  4. Right-click on the entry and click “Open File Type in RegEdit”.
    The Registry Editor will now open directly to the file association (ProgID) key.
  5. In the right-pane, right-click on the “NoOpenWith” value and choose Delete.
    windows 11 default apps can't associate file
  6. Close the Registry Editor.

That’s it. You should now be able to associate the specified file type using Default Apps and/or Open with.



windows 11 default apps can't associate file

Note: Even though you fixed the association settings for .JPG file type only, the fix is effected for many other image file types (e.g., .jfif, .jpe, .jpeg, .png, .bmp, etc.) that use the same ProgID.


Method 2: Reset the Photos/Zune apps via Settings

If you’re unable to associate only the image (i.e., JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, etc.) and video file types using Default Apps, resetting the Photos and Zune apps resolves the issue in Windows 11.

  1. Open Settings → Apps & features.
  2. Type “Photos” in the “App list” Search box.
  3. Once Microsoft Photos appears in the list, click on the icon with three dots.
  4. Click Advanced options.
    windows 11 jpg/png association fix
  5. Click Reset.
  6. Click Reset (again) when you see the following warning message:
    "This will permanently delete the app's data on this device, including your preferences and sign-in details"

    windows 11 jpg/png association fix

Resetting the Photos app would remove the NoOpenWith registry value automatically.

Alternately, you can run the following PowerShell command to reset the Photos app quickly:

Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.Windows.Photos | Reset-AppxPackage

Fix for Media files association issue

If the association issues are seen for audio or video file types such as MP3, AVI, MP4, MKV, etc., then resetting the “Movies & TV” app (Microsoft.ZuneVideo) and the “Groove Music” app (Microsoft.ZuneMusic) should fix the issue.

Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.ZuneVideo | Reset-AppxPackage
Get-AppxPackage Microsoft.ZuneAudio | Reset-AppxPackage

Note that resetting the Photos app won’t erase your personal files/photos/videos. Only your custom settings in the Photos app would be lost. However, you may need to do a fresh sign-in to the Photos app (if you’re using a Microsoft account) and re-configure the app as desired.

(For a precise/surgical fix, follow Method 3 instead.)


Method 3: Remove the NoOpenWith registry values Using REG file

To fix the file association issue for image and media files, you can remove the NoOpenWith values via the Registry Editor (regedit.exe) or by creating and running the registry file provided below.

  1. Copy the following lines to Notepad:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
    
    ;Remove the NoOpenWith value from Zune and Photos app's ProgIDs in the registry
    
    ;-------------------
    ;Microsoft Photos
    ;-------------------
    ;File Types: .3g2,.3gp, .3gp2, .3gpp, .asf, .avi, .m2t, .m2ts, .m4v, .mkv
    ;... .mov, .mp4, mp4v, .mts, .tif, .tiff, .wmv
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppXk0g4vb8gvt7b93tg50ybcy892pge6jmt]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    ;File Types: Most Image File Types
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppX43hnxtbyyps62jhe9sqpdzxn1790zetc]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    ;File Types: .raw, .rwl, .rw2 and others
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppX9rkaq77s0jzh1tyccadx9ghba15r6t3h]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    ;-------------------
    ; Zune Music
    ;-------------------
    ;File Types: .aac, .adt, .adts ,.amr, .flac, .m3u, .m4a, .m4r, .mp3, .mpa
    ;.. .wav, .wma, .wpl, .zpl
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppXqj98qxeaynz6dv4459ayz6bnqxbyaqcs]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    ;-------------------
    ; Zune Video
    ;-------------------
    ;File Types: .3g2,.3gp, .3gpp, .avi, .divx, .m2t, .m2ts, .m4v, .mkv, .mod
    ;... .mov, .mp4, mp4v, .mpe, .mpeg, .mpg, .mpv2, .mts, .tod, .ts
    ;... .tts, .wm, .wmv, .xvid
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Classes\AppX6eg8h5sxqq90pv53845wmnbewywdqq5h]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
  2. Save the file as “image_asso_fix.reg
  3. Double “image_asso_fix.reg” to apply the settings to the registry.
  4. Click Yes when asked for confirmation.

That’s it. You should be able to associate image/media/other file types via the Open with dialog, Default Apps, or the “Change” button in the file’s properties.


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Ramesh Srinivasan is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a consecutive ten-time recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional award in the Windows Shell/Desktop Experience category, from 2003 to 2012. He loves to troubleshoot and write about Windows. Ramesh founded Winhelponline.com in 2005.

7 thoughts on “[Fix] Can’t Change File Association via Default Apps in Windows 11”

  1. You nailed it!!! Thanks Ramesh, so grateful you are willing to share these tips (I’ve been going in circles for hours)

    Reply

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