How To Change Default Program In Windows

pdf keeps opening in the browser

Change Default Program For PDFs and other files

To change which program is used to open files in Windows 11 or 10, type the word DEFAULT in the search bar located on your task bar.

search bar cortana windows 11

From there, select the DEFAULT PROGRAM option. You will now be taken to the default apps screen.

pdf not opening in browser anymore

Choose the program that you would like to change the behavior of. If you want to stop Adobe from opening PDFs, for example, you can select Adobe from the list options as show below.

change adobe file type in windows 11

Select the file extension you would like to change. File extensions are the series of characters found after the period in a file. Common file extensions are .html for web pages and .xlsx for Excel files. In our example, we want to change how PDFs are opened so we will choose the .pdf option.

adobe default behavior

Once you click the .pdf selection, you will be presented with a list of programs that can render PDF files. Choose the one you want, and all files of that file extension will open in the program going forward. If you don't have an active Adobe subscription, you may want to change the default program to your favorite browser.

open PDFs in the browser

Changing PDF behavior in browser

Certain web browsers will attempt to open PDF files within the browser itself. If you don't want the browser to do that, you can change how it handles PDFs in the settings section. In Chrome, select the three vertical dots located in the right corner of the browser.

Type PDF in the search bar.

browser settings in chrome

Select Site Settings.

privacy control options in chrome

Choose the Download PDFs open to prevent Chrome from attempting to render PDFs within the browser.

browser site settings

Why should I change the default programs?

In most cases, the default programs work fine for the file types they are associated with. However, there are certain use cases where the default program may not be the best for your workflow.

If you want to preserve the leading 0s in a CSV file

If you have an Excel file that contains leading 0s and you save that file as a CSV, the 0s will be remain....until you close the file. Once that file is closed and you open it again, all your leading 0s will be gone!

You can prevent this by change the default program to open .csv files to either Notepad++ or Notepad. Both programs are free and will preserve the leading 0s in your file.

Matt Irving is the CEO of Super Easy Tech, LLC.
Matt is the founder of Make It Super Easy and and Super Easy CRM. He is a passionate software engineer, tech blogger, and gamer. Feel free to connect on any of the platforms listed below.

Posted by: Matt Irving on 04/10/2022


Subscribe to my blog!