How to Remove “Always use the selected program” Option from Open With Dialog

The Open With dialog in Windows allows you to open a file using different programs. Also, you can create or change the file type association by selecting the “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” checkbox in the Open With dialog.

Sometimes, users wrongly associate file types and end up having to reset the associations manually. To prevent users from changing file type associations using the Open with dialog, you can remove the “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” checkbox.

1. Launch Regedit.exe and navigate to the following branch:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

Note: If the above branch does not exist, you need to create it manually.

2. Create a new DWORD value named NoFileAssociate

3. Double-click NoFileAssociate and set its data to 1



4. Exit the Registry Editor.

The above registry change affects the current user account only. To implement the change for all users (system-wide), create the NoFileAssociate value in the following branch:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer

The above edit when used in Windows 2000/XP, results in a grayed out “Always use the selected program…” checkbox. Whereas in Windows Vista and higher, the checkbox is removed completely.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded Winhelponline.com back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

4 thoughts on “How to Remove “Always use the selected program” Option from Open With Dialog”

  1. THANKS A BUNCH!

    After a long time of visiting your blog, finally you posted something useful.

    I hope you don’t take it personally, but you more often post tips about restricting or removing features.

  2. This is incredibly useful! It’s good to know that there’s a way to remove a ‘feature’ of Windows that has been causing problems for many years (I found a thread from the year 2000 describing exactly the same problem!)

    Thanks 😀

  3. Thanks but

    how about if we want just to undo the last association so that the windows would open the same dialog box as before?

    I accidentally associated a file and now I want it to be not associated with any programs. what should i do then in Vista?

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