WAssociate icon Examples

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A simple association

This example will show how to add WordPad or any other text editor to the context menu of files with extension .txt. If you installed a shortcut to WAssociate in your SendTo folder, you can start WAssociate by right clicking on any file with an .txt extension and choosing Send to ... WAssociate. If you start WAssociate otherwise, you can enter .txt into the combo box with extensions.


To backup your registry: find the speed button for starting RegEdit RegEdit and click on it. You can backup your registry by exporting the registry with Menu Register - Export.

The file type of extension .txt

When Windows installs itself it will associate the opening of a file with an .txt extension with NotePad. When you specify .txt as extension, WAssociate will look up its associated file type. On most systems this will be txtfile, with a default open action specifying a text editor like Notepad.

WAssociate showing extension .txt

WAssociate showing extension .txt, associated file type txtfile and Notepad for its default open action.

Adding an alternative editor

Adding WordPad, or any other text editor, to the context menu of txtfile is simple. You can undo the following changes as long as you don't close WAssociate. Find the combo with actions, and enter a not yet used action name like WordPad or the name of your text editor. Click on the browse button '>' at the center right. You will be asked to confirm the creation of the new action. Locate and select WordPad.exe or the editor of your choice and confirm your choice.

Launch it

From now on your context menu for text files will have the new editor as menu item. See it appearing when you right click a .txt file in Explorer. On most systems you see it right away, but if you don't, press F5 or use menu View - Refresh, close Explorer, log out or reboot to force Explorer to reread the registry. Although the display of files will not always be updated right away, the execution of commands will always be read from the registry just before execution.

If you choose the menu item, it will launch WordPad or your editor opening the selected text file(s). If you prefer your editor as default open action, you can choose 'Make default' from the context menu of the actions combo, or specify it for the open action. The open command you specify for the file type is valid for the whole computer, the open command you specify by selecting an application for an extension is valid for the current user only and overrides the open command of the file type.

Undo it

If you do not like what you see you can use Undo to remove the created action from the context menu, or specify .txt as extension and select the action in the bottom tree view. If txtfile is the filetype then deleting the registry key HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\txtfile\Shell\WordPad will remove it from the context menu.

Associations with all files

The following example will associate WAssociate with all your files.

Selecting file type *

Start WAssociate, empty the combo box with extensions, and replace the file type with an asterisk (*). WAssociate will look up file type *, which you can use to specify properties for (almost) all files. You might wonder how you ever managed without it.

Creating action WAssociate

Enter WAssociate into the combo with actions and click on the browse command button '>' at the right of the window. If asked, confirm the creation of the new action, and select WAssociate.exe from the file dialog. After you confirmed, the job is done.

Try it out

By now Explorer knows about WAssociate. You can start WAssociate from the context menu for all files having extensions matching *, that is, most files. Try it out by right clicking some icons and see how WAsssociate appears as context menu item. If you select it, WAssociate will come up with the extension of the file focused. Likewise you can install any other tool, for all your files through the * file type.

Undo it

To remove the association between * and WAssociate you can use Undo as long as you don't close WAssociate. If you cannot use Undo, you can empty the combo with extensions and specify * as file type. Select HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\Shell\Associate in the bottom tree view and delete the action WAssociate with a click on the delete speed button. If there are no other shell actions left beneath HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\*\Shell you can delete the Shell key as well.


If you still understand what's going on, you must have mastered WAssociate. If you like a lot of detail and have installed a few larger programs, have a look at their associations. Try .doc if you have Word installed. Simply creating file types with a good description already helps in organizing an ever-growing amount of files.

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