Windows 10 Has A More Intelligent Way Of Handling Default Apps

Windows 10 Has A More Intelligent Way Of Handling Default Apps
To sign up for our daily newsletter covering the latest news, hacks and reviews, head HERE. For a running feed of all our stories, follow us on Twitter HERE. Or you can bookmark the Lifehacker Australia homepage to visit whenever you need a fix.

Setting a default app for a specific file type (like JPG or PDF) ensures that when you double-click on a file, you can open it in your preferred application. Windows 10 is tweaking the way that Windows handles this process — and it sounds like an improvement.

The new behaviour is being introduced in the just-released latest preview build for Windows 10. The big change is that apps are no longer allowed to automatically change your defaults — only Windows can do that.

Here’s how the new process will work. Let’s say you install a new image editor. The first time you double-click on an image file after that software has been installed, you’ll see a prompt asking you if you want to change your default app to something else. Newly-installed apps will be identified as such on this list. Only Windows can invoke this prompt — it can’t be called up by the installation process for an individual app.

This behaviour already exists for ‘modern’ Windows 8.1 apps, but there were inconsistencies in how it was launched by older apps. As the Blogging Windows post announcing the change explains:

In Windows 8.1, Classic Windows applications (Win32) could invoke the prompt asking you to change your defaults, so you may have seen multiple prompts during install and after they launched. However, Windows Store apps could not invoke this prompt. Instead, a notification banner will appear after your apps are installed telling you that new apps are available and you would click on this banner to change your defaults.

Overall, this feels like a better approach to us. What do you think?

Announcing Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 10122 for PCs [Blogging Windows]


  • I like the new approach BUT Built in Administrator should be able to set the defaults so that an automated install has the correct associations by default, otherwise it’ll require each PC to have manually set items – this should also allow setting the defaults for an extension that has no associations set at all.

    I mean there isn’t much point having the UAC prompt if it doesn’t let you do more advanced stuff when you want to – not every user will want to be limited like this – I mean really if your defaults get changed it’s pretty easy to change them back again (so not really a big deal anyway, removing options is bad tho so if they enforce it, make sure to add a policy that reverts the “feature” so you can turn it off again).

    • I assume this will eventually make its way to some kind of Group Policy setting, if it isn’t already. But good point.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!