Setting Default Programs File Type Associations and Auto Play Options

Most of the programs you use in Windows are associated with particular file types and protocols. These associations are what enable you, for example, to double-click a Windows Media Audio (.wma) file in Windows Explorer and have your favorite audio program play the file; or click an internet hyperlink in a document or e-mail message and have your favorite web browser take you to the appropriate website. The Windows setup program establishes many of these associations for you when the operating system is installed . The setup programs for various applications also create associations with the file types those programs can use . (Sometimes such programs, when installed, change existing file-type associations; generally, but not invariably, they ask for your permission before doing this .)

But regardless of how the associations between programs and file types and protocols are currently set, Windows makes it easy for you to see and modify the settings . You can inspect and alter current defaults by clicking Default Programs, on the right side of the Start menu, or opening Control Panel, clicking Programs, and then clicking Default Programs. Either way, you arrive at the section of Control Panel shown in Figure 5-10.

Figure 5-10 The designers of Windows 7 considered this aspect of Control Panel to be so important that they gave it its own Start menu entry.

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