File Association Fix

Ever have one of those days where you click something and everything doesn’t seem to work correctly from that point on and when you try to find out what caused it, you dig yourself deeper into a hole that you may never recover from? Of course! Here’s my short story.

I was working on a problem following a Google post for a fix and the article mentioned properties of a shortcut. I went to the shortcut and for some reason, instead of clicking on properties, I clicked edit apparently thinking that I was working with something like an xml file. All I really wanted to do was “look into it”. 

When you attempt to open a file that windows doesn’t associate to a particular file extension, it bring up the window that asks you which program to use to open the file. The safe bet is Notepad. Depending on the time of year and sun spot activitiy and the day of the week and date, you will find that the associated checkbox for “And always use this program to open this type of file…”, or words to that effect, will be checked or not. Sometimes the box stays checked and other time, it doesn’t. Don’t ask why because I don’t know.

In my case the box was checked and I chose notepad and all of my shortcuts were changed to use Notepad and open that particular file. Every shortcut! I quickly found that I could change the association but to what program? I chose cmd.exe. Bad choice. Now, I get the command prompt; nothing open, just command prompt. Joy!

What does this mean? Well, all of your links no longer work. Try to use windows withoutt shortcuts. It’s as much fun as working without a mouse. What to do? First, I found that you can use the “assoc” command to change the association, Since I didn’t have any problems opening a command prompt. I typed “assoc .lnk=”, thinking that would remove cmd.exe from a .lnk file. Doesn’t work.

Next, I found a registry hack that was supposed to fix things, admittedly for XP. I’m running Windows 7. You guessed it. When you try to import a .reg file that modifies certain keys used by the OS, you get denied! I try it in “safe mode”. No success. I’m getting desperate.

Finally, I found this post that purports to fix my problem. I’m at my wits end thinking of a major OS restore operation but decide to give it a try. I download the utility (It takes a while to find the obscure link among the ads on the page) and try it out. It works!

I don’t know how Ramesh Srinivasan did it but I heartly congratulate him for saving me from burning countless hours on this.

This posting is provided “as is” with no warranties, guaranties or any rights whatsoever. All content is based on the author’s experiences and opinions and is not intended to influence the actions of the reader.
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