A Utility to Unassociate File Types in Windows 7 and Vista

Here is a utility that helps you unassociate a file type quickly in your Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer without the need to edit the registry manually. Windows 7 & Vista do not provide a GUI option to unassociate file types, thus the need arises for such a tool below.

Related article:How to Remove a File Association Using the Registry Editor?

Unassociate file types in Windows 7 & Windows Vista

  • Download unassoc.zip and save to Desktop
  • Extract the contents to a folder and run the file unassoc.exe
  • Select the file type from the list
  • Click Remove file association (User)

The user-specific association for the chosen file type is now removed from the registry. The system will now use the global file association settings.

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More information

Command Description
Remove file association (User) Removes the user-specific association (via the Open With dialog) for the chosen file type. Note that this button will remain dimmed if there is no user-specific association for the file type.
Delete file type Deletes the file type completely from the registry. Both the user-specific and global associations for the chosen file type is removed.
Refresh list Refreshes the list box contents.

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.

181 thoughts on “A Utility to Unassociate File Types in Windows 7 and Vista”

  1. Thank you so much! It worked in an instant. I’m not that good with files, extension, registries, etc. I thought I would have to take it to the shop! Praise the Lord!!

  2. What a neat utility! I was just about to publish an identical one… right after I finished this cup of coffee. No really, I was!
    Thanks! P.S.: Raymond.cc pointed me your way.

  3. Wow…and THANK YOU! I was dreading even MORE down-time from consulting with our third-party tech support–what a miraculous utility! We are forever grateful!

  4. Thanks sir, I was panic what to do, U have given a simple solution and it worked as a magic. Thanks……

  5. You just saved my life.
    I tried everything but nothing worked until I tried this.
    Thank you so much, I love you.

  6. A useful Indo-Asian written a piece of software. Easy peasy.
    Saves a registry hack.
    Will visit again.
    Looks like my computer as stablised – without a shutdown or trying to figure out what the original software was running the file probably “unknown application”.

    Thanks Ramesh Srinivasan

  7. Many, many thanks for this Ramesh..!!! I had unfortunately associated a couple of file types with the wrong program, and several hours were spent on this frustrating quirky issue. All the other help for resetting default file types kept giving the stupid advice of “change the default program to open with”. Much appreciated sir!


  9. I seriously want to have your babies, I have been trying to find out what the hell was going on with my files for HOURS, for some reason whenever I tried to open a .lnk file it would try to open it with internet explorer and now IT’S FIXED!!! Friday from Arizona

  10. I was cursing like hell before using this app…..Great app!!!!!!!!! Solve my problem with one to two clicks…..+1 for you!!!!!!!!! Thanx sooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. You are awesome! Great!!! Thanks so much again! It is so simple, but works wonderful… Never forget this!!!

  12. worked within a ziffy…. had selected .lnk type and clicked on Remove file association. thanks buddy … huge relief .. pheww 🙂

  13. Thank you so much. You should update your steps to make sure people know to choose the .lnk option. Took me a few minutes to figure that out. Well, thanks again.

  14. Works perfectly, awesome! I ran into some sort of bug where I set the default program to the command line, and then it wouldn’t let me change it to anything else in default programs. This let me quickly fix that.


    I was stuck with every shortcut loading up neverwinter

    Now its all good 🙂

  16. Thank you for this wonderful tool. It performs as expected and is a breeze to use. 5 Thumbs Up!!!!!

  17. One of my users received a picture in an email only it wasn’t a picture, it was a shortcut…. opening the shortcut made her accidently associate .lnk files with Microsoft Office which made ALL of her shortcuts stop working. This utility allowed me to fix the .lnk file association. Thank you for this!!!!

  18. Thank you for this! This is really effective! I’m glad that my problem with this .lnk file thingy was fixed.

  19. Thank you so much! This is the quickest and easiest fix I could find. If I knew about this earlier, I would’ve saved myself a big headache. I’m defiantly favoriting this page, just in case I make the same mistake again. Thanks again!

  20. I can’t believe this actually works! I thought it was a virus at first, but then I looked at the comments and they said it works! So i tried it and now everything is back to normal! 😀

  21. I can’t believe that Windows doesn’t handle this operation in the GUI but I’m SO grateful for your work around!! This is a very handy utility THANK YOU

  22. Great program – same issue as Robert – user with .lnk associated with Acrobat. Solved in 60 seconds.

  23. In my case I associated the .lnk file with adobe reader. all the programs in my computer always opening in adobe reader. I used this app. In .lnk file i clicked “Remove file association (User)”. All the problems came to an end.

  24. thank you for the simple solution.
    Since I did not have a restore point to restore from this was THE solution.

  25. OMG! I LOVE YOU! Today I tried with Regedt32 too, manually copying codes from another identical pc, but nothing happened. And now… YOU!
    Unassoc saved my ass.

  26. My kid had managed to associate .lnk with IE, which messed up the computer totally. It wasn’t possible to start any program at all, it only tried to open it the program as a link in IE. Thanks for sharing your unassoc program, a simple but working solution when you don’t have a restore Point to rely on.

  27. Had a user who had associated .lnk to acrobat reader… nightmares ensued,

    assoc and ftype didn’t help but this did the trick, thanks!

  28. Thanks! Excellent tool! I had problems with bat files and tried unassociating them manually using regedit, but I didn’t manage. You’re tool did the trick! Thanks a lot!

  29. Good god! Thank you!
    Reading online that it could be a virus and the only solution was format.

    Thank you thank you thank you!

  30. Thanx. It works perfectly. My AutoCAD program changed my .scr (sreensaver) files and by deleting .scr in this cool app, I was able to view my screensavers again. It’s AWESUM. Lol

  31. thanks a lotttttttttttttttttttttttttttt…………….
    it actually works
    but i hav a small problem..2 programs extension i changed during this mishap and now how can i put them back to normal?

  32. Wow that’s so magical…. all .lnk files (icons) on my pc got attached to adobe reader making me unable to open any shortcut or program. But it fixed it in a moment!

    Kudos !!!

  33. i can´t click “remove file associatation”. it`s kind off invisible like in the picture above… What to do now?
    thanks in advanced

  34. Not sure what my son did but he managed to associate .lnk with winzip!

    So your utility program was just what I needed. Another grateful user here – many thanks!

  35. Amazing! So quick and easy. Just select they .lnk file extension (in my case) from the list, click the button and it’s done in the blink of an eye.

  36. Holy cow! I just spent almost my entire workday NOT working, scouring the web for a fix (I somehow associated .7z with explorer.exe, and couldn’t change the default back to 7-Zip through normal methods). 30 seconds after DLing your tool, all is right with my world again. You rock!

  37. Hello,

    Tried to use Unassociate File Types to remove .lnk associations (Shortcut Virus) on USB stick(s) after removing malware from both stick and Thinkpad. But after selecting .lnk in the window, the top button Remove the association (user) remains dim… and I have Admin privileges. What gives?


  38. Thanks it really worked for me. After hours of trying to deal with the issue I used a registry fix then deleted the .lnk from the unassocciated file types interface.

  39. Using Windows 7 I had a default program associated with a file type that would not reset itself using the control panel app or the ‘Open With’ app. This little utility worked as advertised and to my complete satisfaction.

    Well Done!

  40. Thanks for your support! i have been worried of how i should fix .ink problem in my computer, i could not figure it out how to fix but i really tried. i now know how to easily remove shortcut virus. thanks once more!

  41. Apparently, this doesn’t work for a lot of file types.

    In Windows 7 (x64), I logged in as Administrator, and in addition selected “Run as administrator” when running the program. I chose “.bin” within the program, but the option “Remove file association (User)” remained greyed out, just like how it’s displayed above on this very webpage.

    Don’t tell me the program is doing this because .bin isn’t associated with a program – it is, and with the wrong one. I don’t want ANY association for “.bin”.

    Nice try – thanks anyway.

  42. This is so helpful. Thank you so much for writing this program. I was panicking so much and this just fixed everything with one click.

  43. It worked!!! Thanks a lot 🙂
    It drove me nuts trying to associate again and again the .txt files. 🙂

  44. I have windows 7, but it did not work. Message was: “This program runs in Windows 7 & Windows Vista systems only.” Yes, but I am just on Windows 7. Could you help me to find any solution

  45. Worked like a charm, didn’t want to mess with the registry and this a perfect workaround. THANK YOU!!!

    a time saving ‘broken file ASSociation’ stress reliever!

    Unassoc v 1.4 fxed my Flashget file association .FB! problems due to my own clumsy fault, in a ‘flash’ 🙂

    Thanks so much

  47. This was a big help to me because I had .lnk files that were associated with something else at work and the only way that I thought it could be fixed is if I was an administrator. Of course since it was a work computer I am not the administrator and I really did not want to call IE and tell them that I messed something up. This was a way that I could fix the problem on my own and no one had to know that I messed the files up. So thank you very much!

  48. Thank you so much!!!!!!! Almost had me reinstalling my Windows… Very helpful… Been trying to fix this problem for almost a week and with just few clicks using the software, BOOM! my icons are back to normal and executes as normal! Really thank you!!!!

  49. Unassoc.exe for Windows 7 no longer works. Noticed under Properties that the name has changed from unassoc.exe to unassoc_1_4.exe and the file is bigger. Has this great little fix for .lnk file extensions been hacked or is there another answer?

    I’ve been at this for weeks. Help!!!!

  50. Ramesh, in my new Windows 7 64-bit machine, I have been disassociating and reassociating my .m files with Notepad via the Windows Registry and have noticed that the “Remove file association (user)” button in Unassoc is very often unavailable to be used (i.e., gray) when my .m files have been reassociated with Notepad and then the choice “.m” is highlighted within Unassoc.

    I believe that the “Remove file association (user)” button becomes available if and only if a “UserChoice” folder happens to appear in HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.m within the Windows Registry after a reassociation of my .m files with Notepad.

    I’m very new to the Windows Registry, but was wondering if this problem could be related to some Microsoft bug?

  51. Outstanding, makes you wonder how this isn’t a standard feature, especially since Win7 likes to default to always open with and makes the file association so easy, but not so easy to unassociate. Thanks.

  52. Spent hours trying to fix my .lnk files. Somehow they were associated with picture viewer.
    Came across your program….. dloaded / extracted and ran. Took about 15 seconds and problem solved!
    Should get Microsoft to add it to their OS.

    Many, many thanks!!!

  53. Great, thank you. I had that .lnk association problem. It had looked horrible before I found out utility:-)

  54. awesome mate, thanks. the usual windows programs couldnt change the association, but deleting it with this utility fixed it. well done, and thanks

  55. Wow this actually worked, everytime I clicked on a file “Windows Media Center” popped up…Can you explain to me what caused this to happen in the first place?

  56. If I had a fraction of the knowledge you have I would be a happy man, have just gone from Windows XP to windows 7 due to end of support, may get a few more years before Microsoft pull the plug on that as well.
    Thanks for a brilliant cure, still not clear in my mind how I got into the problem though.

  57. Thank you!! I had accidentally associated .lnk files with Adobe, what a mess. No shortcuts would open, all shortcuts in the start menu, taskbar, etc, would not work. In addition, I do not have Admin privileges on this PC. BUT, the program still worked, it let me delete the User association. perfect!!

  58. Thank you very much. I accidentally associated .lnk files with WordPad, and I’m sure you know what kind of a clustercluck my Start menu became. I don’t know *why* the system asked me to associate .lnk files in the first place, but that’s a whole other bag of beans. This little utility really saved my bacon — thanks!

  59. I tried to use this utility on a win7 PC which has a problem opening the MS Security Essentials program (keeps opening the ‘Open With’ dialog) but there is no user asoociated file type for this so no further forward – but can see it is a useful link for many other extensions. Thanks for putting it up.

  60. Thank you so much for this. I was in a panic. Somehow all my icons got linked to Adobe Reader. The only way I was able to get a browser to open to find this was through the Reader. Don’t even ask me how I got there. This little program worked like a charm. Brought everything back to normal.
    Thanks again


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