Get Your Default Apps Back Fast After a Windows 10 Update Resets Them

After a major Windows 10 update, a lot of times your default apps are reset to Windows 10 defaults. Here’s an easy way to get them back without resetting each one.

After installing a major Windows 10 update, a lot of times your default apps are reset to Windows 10 defaults. For example, if you change the default web browser from Microsoft Edge to Chrome of Firefox, after an update, it might be set back to Edge.

I’ve heard from several readers that this type of thing is happening to them even after installing minor cumulative updates, too. I’ve had this happen to me. Since I deal with a lot of screenshots every day, I set my default to Windows Photo Viewer, and after the November Update, it was switched back to the built-in Photos app.

It’s also worth noting that I set my default program for most music and video file types to VLC, and a major update might reset them back to Groove Music or the Movies & TV app. There are several other examples I could give, but you get the idea.

For additional information on how to change your default programs, read our article: How to Set Default Programs in Windows 10.

Back Up Windows 10 Default File Associations

To make things easier, the next time Windows 10 gets a major update, your best bet is to back up your current file associations. You can do this manually through the Registry, but there’s an easier way. Download the free utility that will do it for you called Default Programs Editor.

After you download it, just extract it to a convenient location and run it. No installation is required so you can run it from a flash or network drive.

 run as admin

When it launches click on Create or restore a backup of registry settings link at the bottom.

create backup of registry settings

Next click on Create a backup. You’ll probably want to do this anytime you make a lot of file association changes or create different backups for different PCs.

3 create backup

When you want to restore your settings after a major update, just launch the app again. Select the backup, and then click Restore selected backup. I should mention that I used this on the current stable version of Windows 10. As well as an Insider build and it works on both.

4 Restore Backup

Backup Registry Key Manually

If you are an advanced user, you can manually back up the Registry key for file associations. Go to the following path and export the key to a secure location:


Export key

After restoring the key after a major update, a restart might be required.

Summing Up

Microsoft really wants you to use its new universal apps built into Windows 10, and I like most of them. But I have programs set to make my workflow as efficient as possible. I am sure this is the case with most users. And resetting everything after an update is annoying (to say the least). Hopefully, this will make things easier for you the next time a big update comes along.

If this does or doesn’t work for you, leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. Or for more detailed questions, head over to our Windows 10 Forums for additional help.



  1. Doug

    I must be one of the lucky ones. I have received the major updates and VLC is still in the default position I set it when I accepted the Windows 10 download from my original Windows 8.1. For the Photo Viewer I have always used Fastone Image Viewer as default and Firefox remains default to, so I guess I must be one of the lucky ones.

  2. Farok

    Greetings dearest groovy post and friends. The day I signed up for your subscription and after my registration and confirmation, the moment i get a mail from groovypost, in fact always waiting for your mail only! Anyways, I love your post because I have July windows 10,”‘INSIDER VOLUNTEER UPGRADED FROM 8.1 Pr
    In July, I also I have the ISO copy of the Media Creation tool which helps me reinstall after every upgrade! I love this OS and am going to stick to it. My last Edition .36, after sign in again with my mail it remembers my earlier sorry state system and slowly reverts everything back!!! If only I had met you intelligent people then I wouldn’t have KILLDISKED both my laptops 3 times already, thinking that there is a virus in my system. Hey, not complaining but learning after all Microsoft had warned me. Now that I have you, I feel safe and how to ??? from you has given me the confidence to keep on being an Insider while they revert everything e.g, VPN SETTINGS SWITCH ON after every restart. Anyways, kudos and thanks to you and your contributers and I hope to be a paid subscriber of your Publcations. You are worth it. Anyways, I am hoping to become a humble supporter of your Magazine.

  3. Cecilia

    I am one of the unlucky. Rest password several times. Can’t log in. So I assume I need to have a professional look at it?? Any suggestions?

  4. Dirk

    I guess we need to find someone who complains mircrosoft.
    Nearly every day i need to do the stuff of resetting browser app back to firefox.

  5. LM Servayge

    I think it’s time that Redwood realises that all this PC’s belong to their customers and are not owned by MS corporation!

  6. Joyce McLeod

    In August I had my computer rebuilt because of a failing motherboard. I told the ComputerPro technician to give me Windows 10. Recently I lost five months of Outlook .pst files, and I had the Pro back to see if he could help me retrieve same from my external back-up. Long story short, he discovered 16 sectors were corrupted, and he could save anything from the drive. He recommended Carbonite, which I immediately did after he left. Carbonite’s been backing up since Feb 5 — I have 2 internal HDs with 304GB and 100,814 files, so it’s still running.

    A few days ago I started getting alert messages — at least 100 of them — telling me a default app was reset because of problems. Edge, Groove Music, Movie & TV, Photo, etc., all Microsoft apps which I didn’t even know I had. I use my own suite of apps. I’ve gone into Settings 5 times now and reset all Microsoft apps back to my apps. But I’m still getting those alert messages, and the defaults are still being reset. Without my permission! I feel as though Big Brother is watching and in control!

    How do I block this resetting process once and for all? Thanks for any help you can offer.

  7. Stefanie

    Hi, there: after its infernal Anniversary Update, Windows 10 no longer recognizes its own Office programs and has reset everything related to e.g. Word and Excel file extensions to some third party programs from a company called Kingsoft. Mind you that the Office programs are still there; I can see and open them, and then successfully hunt for the file I am trying to open (at least that, but it is tedious.) However, when I click on a document or spreadsheet to open it, it opens with these odd Kingsoft applications. “Default Settings” AND your Default Programs Editor, which I dutifully downloaded, both state the MS Office programs do not exist. When I try to browse for them, they are not shown, unlike in File Explorer. Thank you for any ideas.

    • Sean

      A little old, but can you right click on the document, open with, check the always open box and choose word (power point, excel…), even if you have to use the browse for app option?

      Where did you get kingsoft from? Did it come with your PC originally?

      • Veronica

        I AM SO FRUSTRATED. I can not stand windows 10. I can not open some of my word docs or my picture. Even if I right click and say open with and it will still not open. I need these pictures and word doc. Please please help me..thank u…

  8. stillme

    GD Microsoft!!!!!!!!

  9. Daniel Bolduc

    I do volunteer work for a non-profit organisation. We’ve set up a database with a user interface using OpenOffice. Windows updates change the default app for .odt files from OpenOffice to MS Office. Imagine the nightmare for nearly 100 non-technical users! Your post makes it clear that Linux on the workstations is the way to go. We’ve taken care of the server side already: the database is running on Linux.
    Thanks Brian, your technical post is really well done. Much appreciated!

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