Windows 10 File Associations – How to Instructions

I had a customer that had incorrect file associations with Turbotax. They were using a Windows 10 computer. Each time they tried opening an Adobe PDF document, Notepad would open up.

Obviously, Notepad won’t be able to open a PDF document. I immediately suspected that their Windows 10 file associations were misconfigured, at least for Turbotax. In order to change file associations in Microsoft Windows 10 you want to browse to “Default apps”.

You can left click the Windows 10 menu button in lower left corner. Choose the “Settings” gear icon. You can either type in “Default apps” in a “Find a setting” search box or look for “Apps” and “Uninstall, defaults, optional features”.

Select “Apps” and click on “Default apps” on the left hand side. Also, you can type in “Default apps” into Cortana to change your default apps in Windows 10. This main default apps window only shows a few programs.

Scroll down to the bottom and click on “Choose default apps by file type”. Now you have access to every single file type extension that Microsoft Windows 10 supports. The very left hand column sorts file types in alphabetical order.

The right column lists what application is associated with that extension. You will notice that some file extensions do NOT have a default application associated.

This is normal and just means that that particular extension does NOT have a program installed on Windows 10 or a default application was never configured. You can click on the + sign or “Choose a default” in order to set a default application for a particular file extension. Also, like my customer, you can change an existing default application if it was configured wrong.

Scroll down until you find the file extension. For example scroll down and look for .pdf Adobe Acrobat Document. My customer’s computer had notepad configured as the default application.

I clicked on Notepad to the right of the .pdf file extension, which allowed me to change it. A “Choose an app” popup windows should open up with a list of applications to choose from. Click on the appropriate application.

That is all you need to perform. You have just learned how to change Windows 10 file associations.