Clear unwanted Open With entriesPublished on June 27, 2004
Updated on March 06, 2007
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When right-clicking a file you may see an option called Open With, which contains a list of programs to open the file with. Information provided in this article helps you remove unwanted entries from the Open With listing on a per file-type basis. For the purposes of illustration, examples in this topic use a .xyz file type, and xyzfile as the ProgID for .xyz file type.
Open With listing and their registry locations
The Open With listing for a file type is populated from the following registry keys:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ FileExts \ .xyz \ OpenWithList
HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ FileExts \ .xyz \ OpenWithProgIDs
The OpenWithList key contains a list of values, with each value containing the executable name of an application. Examples: paint.exe, notepad.exe, wordpad.exe etc. The applications listed under this key for a file extension appear under the Recommended Programs heading in the Open With dialog box. These applications also appear in the Open With submenu.
The OpenWithProgIDs key contains a list of values, with each value containing a ProgID. The ProgID specified as the default value for the file extension is the default file handler. To better understand what ProgID is, have a look at the graphic below:
Here are some ProgID examples: txtfile, jpegfile, giffile, Wordpad.Document.1, xmlfile and so forth.
The OpenWithList and OpenWithProgIDs may be implemented on a Perceived Type basis, in addition to per-file type basis. If the Perceived Type for a file extension is defined as image, the OpenWithList and OpenWithProgIDs subkeys present under the following key will be used by Windows to generate the Open With listing:
The Perceived type for a file extension could be audio, image, system, text or video.
Using the Registry Editor to remove unwanted Open With entries
Now that you know the registry locations from where the Open With listing is generated. To remove unwanted entries from the Open With listing, start the Registry Editor tool (regedit.exe) and navigate to the above locations one by one. In the right-pane, select the entry that you want to remove, right-click and choose Delete. Here is another graphic:
- Want to troubleshoot a file association related problem, or need to see where the Open With entries are located in the registry? You can use FileExtInfo utility which I wrote. FileExtInfo lists the complete file association information for a chosen file type and creates a report. This utility was written in my part time, and is a freeware. However, you're most welcome to donate to support such helpful tools, and to keep this Windows Troubleshooting site going.
- MRU Blaster can cleanup the Open With listings.
- MSDN Library: Creating a File Association
- MSDN Library: Specifying File Handlers for File Extensions
- MSDN Library: Arbitrary File Types
- MSDN Library: PerceivedTypes, SystemFileAssociations, and Application Registration
Open With related articles in this site
- Open-with list is collapsed; No items listed in the open-with menu
- Clicking the "Open With" or "Choose Program..." option always opens the file with Notepad
- Open With sub-menu which contains the drop-down list of programs, is missing for all the file types
- Registering a program with the "Open With" dialog
This page was last updated on March 06, 2007.
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