3 Simple Ways to Fix How Do You Want to Open This File

Setting a default program to open files is a quick way around this issue

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about technology ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. He's a PC enthusiast and he... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • The message How do you want to open this file popping up is not harmful but can be annoying.
  • An obvious answer to how do you want to open this file message is to select the program you want to use for opening the file.
  • A more permanent how do you want to open this file fix is to change the default app settings.
  • For that, you will have to select each primary file type and the default program.
how do you want to open this file
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The message How do you want to open this file pops up either when you just installed a new copy of Windows 10 or reset the Windows settings, or in case you’ve never used that specific file type.

This message is Windows 10’s attempt to set a default application to be used when trying to launch different types of files.

In this article, we will explore the best ways to deal with this message and discuss how to make it go away for good if you want to. Read on to find out more.

Why does the How do you want to open this file message appear?

This error occurs if you open a specific file type for the first time. Also, it can show up if there is a need to select a default app to use to launch your files.

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So, this is a perfectly normal prompt on your PC.

How can I fix How do you want to open this file message?

1. Choose a default program

  1. Double-click on the file icon you want to open to get the prompt.
  2. Select any of the compatible programs from the list.
  3. Click on More Apps to search for another software inside the Microsoft Store.
  4. If you already know which app works for the file, then you can also click on the Always use this app to open file to set that application as default.
    always use this app How do you want to open this file

This solution works great if you don’t mind going through the same process every time you encounter this error.

2. Change the Default app settings

  1. Click on the Search bar and type default.
  2. Select the Default apps option.
    default how do you want to open this file
  3. You can click on each section for the main file types and choose a preferred default program for that type.
  4. Now, Windows will automatically open up photos using the Photos built-in app (or any application you choose).

The software available in the list will vary depending on the file you want to set the default app for. This should fix how do you want to open this file issue by selecting apps like Excel, Python, Java, and VS Code for the relevant file types.

How do I fix How do you want to open this file on Windows 11?

  1. Press the Windows key + R, type msconfig, and click OK.
  2. Uncheck the box for Load startup items.
    load how do you want to open this file
  3. Now, click the Services tab at the top.
  4. From here, uncheck the box for Hide all Microsoft services.
  5. Click the Disable all button.
    hide all
  6. Now, click the Startup tab at the top.
  7. Click Open Task Manager.
    open how do you want to open this file
  8. Right-click each of the apps there and select Disable.
  9. Now, go back to the System Configuration window and click the Apply button followed by OK.
    apply ok
  10. Finally, click Restart when prompted.

Restarting your PC in safe mode should help fix how you want to open this file on startup issues on Windows 11, especially if the popup appears randomly. Also, you can use the other solutions listed in the earlier section of this article.

How do I reset the default file format?

  1. Press the Windows key + I to launch Settings.
  2. Select the Apps option.
  3. Choose Default apps in the left pane.
    default apps
  4. Scroll down and click the Reset button under Reset to the Microsoft recommended defaults.

With this, you have reset all file associations to the default.

In this article, we explored two methods that will take care of the How do you want to open this file message on Windows 10 and another one for Windows 11. However, you can use the solutions interchangeably for the two operating systems.

If you are facing other issues like the file is open in another program error, check our detailed guide to fix it quickly.

The solutions offered in this list will indeed resolve any problems relating to this issue. Please let us know how this worked out for you using the comment below.

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