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4 min read

How to Change Default Applications on Windows

Mar 13 2017

Hey, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of Tech Riffs. My name’s Killian Smith, and I’m a systems engineer here at Worksighted.

Today, we’re going to talk about something that you often have to do when you get a new computer, and that’s to change your default applications for opening things like PDFs or change your default web browser. Let’s go ahead and get started.

We’re going to start by coming over here in to the lower left Windows icon, and we are going to start with how to change your default web browser. We can simply use Windows search to type in default, and we see default programs tops up right at the top. It gives us a list of different default applications. A common one is Outlook. Sometimes, that defaults to Windows Mail, but the one that a lot of people are really interested in is changing Microsoft Edge perhaps to Firefox, or what I like to use, Chrome. Basically, you click that, and now the computer knows that any time it has to go to the Internet or open up a webpage, it’s going to start by using Google Chrome to do that.

The next thing we’re going to go ahead and do is we see that I have a little PDF on the desktop, my guitar lessons. Now when I open it up, we see that it opened up Edge. One thing that I want this to do is not use Edge to read PDFs. I want to go ahead and have it use Adobe Reader, so go ahead and get out of that. We’re in the same window here, and we come down to choose default apps by file type. We see what it starts to do is it starts to populate a huge list of what are called file extensions.

Now, file extensions are basically the little dot three or four letter things at the end of your files, like you might see .pdf, you might see .doc or .docx. This basically tells the computer what kind of file it’s trying to open and so it knows what application to use. We’re going to scroll down this huge list here. We find it right here, and we see that it’s Microsoft Edge, so we’re going to click that, tell it to use Adobe Reader. We see over on the desktop that that change from Edge to Reader, so now when I double click this, it’s going to go ahead and open up in Adobe Reader, and I’m set to go.

That’s a wrap, which means it’s time for my shameless plug. You can find out more about this and other really cool tech tips by going online to

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