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Chapter 4.  Configuring the Windows 2000... > Double-clicking a document opens the...

4.17. Double-clicking a document opens the wrong program

Windows 2000, like Windows 9x and Windows NT, uses document/application association properties to determine which application is used to view or edit a document when you double-click that document. The document properties also determine what action the application takes for different tasks such as play, open, edit, and print. With Microsoft Word installed, for example, files with a .doc extension open in Word. Text files with the .txt extension open in Notepad.

When you install applications their Setup programs typically register the application's document type to create the application/document association. If the application uses the same document extension or works with the same types of documents as another application, your current association could be overwritten. The next time you double-click that file type the new application opens instead of the old one.

Or perhaps you want to change the association to specify yourself what application Windows 2000 should use to open a given document. For example, maybe you prefer to use Wordpad to open .txt files rather than Notepad. If so, you need to change the application/document association for the file type.

4.17.1. Change application/document association

Document associations are stored in the registry. While you could modify the associations manually by editing the registry, you'd be inviting trouble. Plus, there is an easier way using the Folder Options property sheet in Explorer.

  1. Open My Computer or any folder and choose Tools Folder Options.

  2. Click the File Types tab.

  3. In the Registered File Types list, locate the document extension whose association you want to modify.

  4. Select the extension from the list and click Change.

  5. Browse through the application list and select the program that you want Windows 2000 to use to open the document. Click Other to browse for an application not included in the list.

  6. Click OK on the Open With dialog box to return to the Folder Options sheet, and then click OK to close the Folder Options sheet.

4.17.2. Change advanced document settings

In addition to changing document association, you can use the Folder Options property sheet to change advanced settings that specify different actions for a document. This includes, for example, opening, printing, and editing a document. You also can determine what action your web browser takes for the document type after a download, specify that Explorer always show the document extension, and define other properties, all described in the following steps:

  1. Open My Computer or any folder and choose Tools Folder Options.

  2. Click the File Types tab.

  3. In the Registered File Types list, locate the document extension whose association you want to modify and click Advanced.

  4. Configure options using the following controls:


    Change icon

    Click to select a different icon to represent the document type in Explorer. You'll find lots of icons in systemroot\ System32\ Shell32.dll and moricons.dll. Executable files also often contain icons. You can select an executable (.exe or .dll) or icon file (.ico).


    New

    Click to specify a new action and a corresponding application. For example, you could use one program to view a document but another to edit or print it.


    Edit

    Select an existing action and click Edit to modify the settings for the selected action.


    Remove

    Select an existing action and click Remove to remove the action.


    Set Default

    Select an existing action and click Set Default to specify the default action for a document type, changing from Edit to View, for example. The default action is the one applied when you double-click the file.


    Confirm open after download

    Select this option to have Windows 2000 ask whether you want to open the document after downloading. Deselect the option if you want Windows 2000 to open the document automatically after download.


    Always show extension

    Select this option to specify that the document's file extension will always be visible in a folder even when other extensions are not displayed.


    Browse in same window

    Select this option to use the same window for browsing the document rather than opening a new one.

  5. Click OK to close the Edit File Type dialog box, then click OK again to close the Folder Options sheet.

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