[Fix] Can’t Associate Image and Media Files 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 the Photos app. 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 gives a clear warning 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 is in place.

The fix is very simple, though!



[Solution] Can’t Associate Image/Audio/Video Files via Default Apps

To fix the image file association issue in Windows 11, follow one of the methods below:

Method 1: Reset the Photos app via Settings

  1. Open Settings → Apps & features.
  2. Type “Photos” in the “App list” Search box.
  3. Once Microsoft Photos shows up in the list, click on the icon that shows up 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 your personal files/photos/videos won’t be erased by resetting the Photos app. 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 2 instead.)


Method 2: Remove the NoOpenWith registry values

To fix the image file association issue, 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 Photos app's ProgIDs in the registry
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\AppXvhc4p7vz4b485xfp46hhk3fq3grkdgjg]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\AppXk0g4vb8gvt7b93tg50ybcy892pge6jmt]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\AppX43hnxtbyyps62jhe9sqpdzxn1790zetc]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\AppX9rkaq77s0jzh1tyccadx9ghba15r6t3h]
    "NoOpenWith"=-
    
    [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 files (JPG/JPE/JPEG/PNG) and 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.

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