Sometimes when you are working in Windows, you need to open a file using an application that isn’t the default one. In this case the Open with context menu options comes in quite handy! But the problem is that it often lists programs that you wouldn’t ever want to use, and it fails to list the program that you really do want to open the file with. In this tutorial, we’ll look at removing those unwanted applications from this menu.
The “open with” menu in Windows 7 displays an auto-generated list of recommended applications for opening files, some of them are good. The problem is that some of the recommendations would make absolutely terrible choices for opening up the file. For instance take the example below; I’m sure I will NEVER use visual studio or the VAIO Control Center to open up a simple txt file, but Windows suggests it anyways.
Let’s go in and see if we can remove some of these crummy application choices from the list of options.
Note that this How-To will involve extensive changes to the Windows registry. I suggest that you make a backup of the registry before you begin modifying it, just incase something goes haywire.
How To Remove “Open With” Context Menu Options From Windows 7
1. Click the Windows Start Menu Orb and then Type in regedit.
2. Browse through the Registry Editor to the following key:
This is the path where all of your file types are listed. This is going to take a little bit of manual labor as you’ll have to do each file type that you want to modify individually.
3. The data we’re looking for is in the OpenWithList key of the file type. For example the .txt location would be FileExts.txtOpenWithList .
In the OpenWithList key look at the entries in the right window pane. Each entry will be generically named with a letter, but what we want to look at is the Data line. You’ll notice from the screenshot below that the Data for entry b in my registry says “firefox.exe”.
Once you locate the program that you don’t want to be in the “Open With” list anymore, Right-Click the entry and Select Delete.
How To Change The “Open With” Context Menu List Order
Perhaps you already have the right applications in your Open With menu, but you want to change the way they are listed. You’re in luck, it’s done in the same place in the registry.
- To change the order, simple rename the entries. Each option will appear in the Open With list in alphabetical order according to the entry name that the application is attached to in the registry.
For example if I want Firefox to be on the top of the list, I would rename it’s entry to A and name all other entries after it b, c, d.. etc. You can name entries all the way down to the letter z, but after that I’m not sure. We haven’t bothered testing past Z since you really shouldn’t have 26 applications in your Open With menu anyway, unless you’ve got a serious case of geekery going on.
That covers changing the Open With menu in Windows 7! If you have any questions feel free to post them below in the comments section, and look for an upcoming article on how to add applications to the Open With list.