A lot of Windows 10 users have been complaining that Windows 10 automatically resets file associations after installing updates. For instance, if you have made VLC as the default music player in Windows 10, Windows 10 will automatically set the default Groove Music as the default music player when you install a major update.
Although some are reporting that the file associations were reset to default after installing Threshold 2 update, there are users who have been complaining that the file associations were reset even after installing regular updates.
Since there is no option under Windows 10 to stop updates from resetting file associations, it’s a good idea to backup your current file associations on your Windows 10 PC, so that you can restore file associations backup if Windows 10 resets them after an update.
While there is no option under Windows 10 to backup file associations, you can make a backup using Registry or a third-party software called Default Programs Editor. In this guide, we will see all ways out there to backup file associations in Windows 10.
Method 1 – backup file associations with Default Programs Editor
Method 2 – backup file associations using Registry
Method 3 – reset file associations to default (original Windows 10 associations)
Method 1 of 3
Backup file associations using Default Programs Editor
Although the Default Programs Editor has not been updated in the last few years, the program works without any issues on Windows 10 as well. Follow the given below instructions to backup and restore file associations using Default Programs Editor.
Step 1: Download Default Programs Editor by visiting this page. Extract the downloaded zip file to get the portable version of Default Programs Editor software.
Step 2: Run Default Programs Editor, click the link labelled Create or restore a backup of registry settings.
Step 3: Click the button labelled Create a backup, and click Yes button when you see the User Account Control prompt.
Click Create a backup button again to create the backup of file associations
To restore file associations backup
Step 1: Run Default Programs Editor, click Create or restore a backup of registry settings link.
Step 2: Select a backup from the available backups and then click Restore selected backup button. Click Yes button if you see the User Account Control prompt.
Finally, click OK button when you see the confirmation dialog.
Method 2 of 3
Backup file associations using Registry
Like many other things, file associations are saved in the Registry. You can backup or export file associations by creating a backup copy of the right Registry key.
This method is ideal if you want to backup and restore file associations without the help of third-party software. Complete the given below instructions to backup and restore. The method is easy too.
Step 1: Open Registry Editor by typing Regedit in Start menu search box or Run command box, and then pressing Enter key.
Step 2: In the Registry Editor, navigate to the following key:
Step 3: Right-click on the FileExts key, and click Export option.
Step 4: Enter a name for the backup of your file associations, and then click the Save button to backup file association backup using Registry.
Note that after backing up file associations using Registry, we recommend you check if it’s possible to restore the backup without any issues as you might get errors while restoring the registry backup. If you’re getting “Can’t import error” while restoring the backup, we suggest you use the third-party program Default Programs Editor mentioned in Method 1 to backup and restore file associations.
To restore the file association backup using Registry
When you restore file association backup, make sure that all the programs that you previously installed while creating the backup are present on your current install of Windows as well.
This is because, when you restore the file association backup, Windows doesn’t check if all the programs mentioned in the backup are installed on the system and you might end with an error while opening a file. That is, for instance, if you had made Adobe Reader as the default PDF reader before backing up file associations and uninstalled the Adobe Reader after the backup, you might get an error while opening a PDF file (after restoring file association backup).
Important: Please close all running programs before attempting to restore the backup to avoid errors. We also recommend you create a restore point just in case if something goes wrong.
Step 1: Open up File Explorer (Windows Explorer), and navigate to the folder containing file associations backup that you previously created using Registry.
Step 2: Right-click on the backup file, and then click Merge option.
Step 3: Click Yes button when you see the following confirmation dialog.
Step 4: Click OK button. That’s it!
Reboot your computer once or simply restart Windows Explorer to load new file associations.
Method 3 of 3
Restore file associations to their defaults
If for any reason, you want to restore the default file associations, you can do so with ease by completing given below directions.
Step 1: Open Settings by clicking Settings icon in the left-pane of the Start menu.
Step 2: Once Settings launched, click System.
Step 3: Click Default apps. Scroll to down to see an option labelled Reset under Reset to Microsoft recommended defaults. Click the Reset button to restore to default file associations.