How to remove the file association in Windows 7

Written by c. taylor
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How to remove the file association in Windows 7
Remove incorrect file associations in Windows 7. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

A file association lets you open a file with the associated program from Windows File Explorer or the "Run" command. You can set easily set associations through the "Open with" command on the right-click menu. This also means you can easily set associations accidentally. Although previous versions of Windows allowed you to remove associations easily, Windows 7 is not nearly as intuitive. However, there are a couple of methods that you can use to remove file associations in Windows 7.

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    Command Prompt method

  1. 1

    Click the "Start" button, type "cmd," and press "Enter" while holding the "Ctrl" and "Shift" buttons. This runs the Command Prompt in administrator mode.

  2. 2

    Click "Continue" in the confirmation window. If you are not currently logged in as an administrator, enter the administrator password.

  3. 3

    Type "assoc .EXT=" in the Command Prompt window, replacing "EXT" with the actual file extension. Press "Enter" to remove the file association.

    Registry editor method

  1. 1

    Click the "Start" button, type "regedit" and press "Enter" while holding the "Ctrl" and "Shift" keys.

  2. 2

    Click "Continue" in the confirmation window, or type the administrator password, if requested.

  3. 3

    Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes" in the registry editor. Right-click the extension under "Classes," select "Delete" and click "Yes" in the confirmation window.

  4. 4

    Navigate to "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExt." Right-click the extension under the "FileExt" folder in the left-hand pane, and select "Delete." Click "Yes" in the confirmation window.

  5. 5

    Test that the association has been removed by double-clicking it from Windows File Explorer. If it opens an associated program, then continue the procedure. If it asks you to choose a program, then the association has been removed.

  6. 6

    Hold the "Ctrl" key and press "F" to search the registry. Enter ".EXT", replacing "EXT" with the actual extension, and press "Enter." Right-click any folder from the right-hand pane that is named after that extension, and delete it. This step may be unnecessary, but some programs place additional entries in randomly named folders.

Tips and warnings

  • Messing around with your Windows registry can cause unpredictable problems in the operating system. Do so at your own risk. When deleting folders, only delete folders named precisely after the extension, such as ".ext."

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