Customizing Windows 11: How to Change Default Apps

Windows 11 adds sleek design updates and exciting new options to Microsoft’s desktop operating system, but that doesn’t make it all Easier. The process of changing default apps is a notable example.

In Windows 10, it’s easy to choose a default music player. First, click on the app listed under a function (such as email, photo viewer, or web browser) in the Default apps section of the Settings app. Then choose a new default application from those on your PC capable of handling the media type. This is the full extent of what you need to do.

With Windows 11, the process is more complicated; you need to specify a default application for each picayune file type, not just a larger group of them. For file categories, such as videos, this is a problem due to the large number of formats that exist: AVI, MP4, MOV, MKV, and WMV are just a few of them. Despite this change in Windows 11, it is still not Verry much difficult to change the default web browser, for example, but choosing the defaults for other applications may require a bit more effort.

How to change default apps in Windows 11

In Windows 11, you can’t just choose an app to play all of the video file types I mentioned above. You have to choose an app to open each one individually. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap on the Apps section in the left menu. The Settings app is more hidden than it was in Windows 10; on this operating system, the Settings app is always available just above the Start button. In Windows 11, you need to look for a gray gear icon. You can pin the Settings icon to the Windows 11 Start menu, but it’s not there by default.

Application settings in Windows 11

  1. Choose the second choice, Default apps. Instead of showing the app type Like Windows 10, Windows 11 lists every application on your computer. You can search for an app or the type of file you want to assign to an app.

Default app settings in Windows 11

  1. Click on the app you want to set as default for a file type and you’ll see the list of all the file types it is capable of handling:

Choose file types for an app in Windows 11

Note here that Microsoft Photos handles all types of photo files, as the icons for this program appear next to the file extension entry.

  1. Click the type of file for which you want to change the default application. Then you see a menu like the one below:

Select the application for the file type in Windows 11

  1. The last step is to simply choose an app from the list. (By the way, this app selection dialog is one of the few window types that Microsoft hasn’t added rounded corners to.) After that, you need to repeat the process for each type of file you want. want to use with this app.

Open with context menu in Windows 11

Another way to change a default application is to right-click a file in File Explorer, click Open With (which is more easily and consistently the second choice in the Windows context menu. 11), then Choose another app option. This opens the same app selection box as in the first process, except with a checkbox for “Always use this app to open [extension] files. ”After that, just check the box and hit OK.

The easiest method: during installation

With the first method, you need to understand what types of files you want to work with, although I would expect most PC users to know that JPG is an image and DOC is a document. That said, the process of changing default apps in Windows 10 is even easier, as it lets you do it for all relevant file types at once. It is still a possibility for some applications in Windows 11. Firefox, the popular privacy-focused web browser, and VLC, a Swiss army knife for media libraries, are two examples.


The first time you run it on Windows 11, the Firefox web browser will ask you if you want it to be your default web browser. If you don’t make this choice on the first run, Firefox will continue to display a banner at the top of the browser window with this prompt. In my testing, choosing the option on startup or the banner option did the job without a problem.

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Surprisingly, Google hasn’t implemented an easy way to make Chrome the default browser on Windows 11. Default The option requires you to go to the settings as previously described and edit each file type one at a time.

Make Firefox the main browser on Windows 11

VLC Media Player

VLC is an old-fashioned open source application that is renowned for being able to play just about any media file. Choosing to make VLC the default media player during installation sets it as such for over 70 file types. Unfortunately, several important file types have remained in the purview of Movies & TV and Groove music apps. In the preferences of VLC, there is an option called Association of file extensions, but which simply tells you to go to the section Settings> Applications> Default applications, as mentioned before.

To learn more about Microsoft’s new operating system, check out our full Windows 11 coverage.

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