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Getting rid of unwanted items in "open with..." shell extension

Posted August 2002 by Steve Sinchak

When rightclicking any file you´re likely to see an option called "open with", which lists any available program on you computer to open the file with. To simply clear up this list of unwanted items, or to remove useless associations, like opening an mp3 file with a paint program, follow these steps:

  • Click on the start button, click on Run... and type the word "regedit" (without the quotes) in the box that appears to open the registry editor
  • Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts"
  • Find the extention you wish to edit and click on the "+"-sign to locate the key that says "OpenWithList"
  • In the right pane of the registry editor you´ll see a list with the programs in the list, like "paint.exe" or "notepad.exe"
  • Simple click on the one you wish to delete and press the delete button on your keyboard

Don´t worry if you´ve removed an entry you rather hadn´t removed. When rightclicking a file there will be another option in the "open with" extension where you can choose any program on your computer. Once used, it will reappear in the list of associated programs.

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