How to Change Default Apps on Windows 10

If you’re new to Windows 10, you’ll find some files open in apps that you’re not familiar with yet. But the cool thing is you can change them.

Windows 7 users who skipped Windows 8.1 and are now on Windows 10 might not be happy with specific files opening in Windows 10 apps by default. Or, even if you have been using Windows 10 for a while, you might want to change default apps. No worries, you can have files open in whatever app you want if that is where you’re at.

Change Windows 10 Default Apps

Note: You might also want to check out how to change default apps on Windows 11.

While you might find the Photos app in Windows 10 intuitive, for example, you might want your pics opening in something else. Or, maybe you want your music and video files to open in VLC instead of what Windows sets as the default.

To change the default program for files, open Settings from the Start menu or by hitting Windows Key + I on your keyboard. Then click Apps from the home screen of the Settings app.

Then click on Default apps on the list on the left. Then on the right, you will find the most common items you can change the default app for. Click on the app and choose another installed app you have on your system from the list. For example, I am switching my music player from Groove Music (the Microsoft default) to VLC.

Windows might pop up a message telling you how great its app is and why you should stick with it. If you get this message, click on the “Switch anyway” link.

Change Apps by File Type

Another option you have is drilling down each file type. This is for items not listed at the top of the “Default apps” page. Scroll down a bit and click the “Choose default apps by file type” link.


Then you will get a massive list of file types and the apps that are associated with them. Go through the list and change each file type to what you want to open in a specific app. For example, in the shot below, I am changing WMA files to open in VLC instead of Groove Music (which is the name of the default music player in Windows 10). That’s it. Now moving forward, all apps with that file type will open in the app you chose.


Use Open With

If you don’t want to go through the tedious process of changing each file type, you can change the associations as you move along. Right-click the file, select Open With, and then choose the app you want to use. Or, if you don’t see it on the list, click “Choose another app” from the menu. Or search the Microsoft Store for an app.

In this example, I want to change the default PDF app from Microsoft Edge.

That will bring up a list of apps you can open the file with. If you want to check the box, always use the app to open that type of file and click OK.

If you’re new to Windows 10, you’ll find some of your files open in new programs that you’re not familiar with. But the cool thing is you can change them to what you want. You can do this for older versions of Windows, too.



  1. James Floyd

    December 26, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    I would like to still be able to use the windows 8.1 media player benefits in windows 10 and knowing that i will lose this i will not go to windows 10.

  2. John Siegwarth

    February 27, 2019 at 5:09 am

    Thank you.

  3. Wessel Van Wyk

    August 9, 2020 at 5:54 am

    Windows 10 does not give you the option to change to your selected application. It does not list all the applications in the options, and does not give you an option to browse to an application.

  4. Paul Timon

    March 7, 2021 at 4:09 am

    Brilliant! Thanks.

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