Windows 10: OpenWith context menu issues (changes compared to Win7)

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  1. Posts : 3
    Windows 10 Pro (NL)
       09 Sep 2015 #1

    OpenWith context menu issues (changes compared to Win7)


    Since Windows 8 and now also on Windows 10 I have trouble getting the "old" way of creating the "Open With" context menu working as before.

    On all previous Windows versions (up to Win8) it was easy to assign multiple applications to handle a specific file extension.
    I really need to assign custom applications to extensions to get my productivity efficient.

    Let me make an example:

    I use several versions of a development tool which opens .apt files.
    To develop on different projects using different dev environment versions I created for each environment a .bat file.
    This bat file sets the correct PATHS, displays some info in the console and starts the needed dev environment version and opens the .apt file.

    It was easy to assign those .bat files to .apt extension, having a list of bat files in the context menu of "Open with"


    Open with...

    So right clicking on a .apt file gives me the "Open with" option which can be expanded and having the bat files listed.

    How to setup this list previously?

    - Right click .apt file
    - Select Open With menu
    - Choose default program
    - In the dialog, select choose another program
    - Browse to the bat file and select
    - Uncheck the "always use this program to open this file"
    - Press ok

    The bat file is then executed and the .apt file is opened in the correct Dev version.

    Afterwards when right clicking .apt file again, the previously selected bat file is now listed straight under the Open With menu as an item and can be selected immediately (no need to open the dialog to select the bat file).

    This worked flawlessly and the list to be created was point and click.

    On Windows 8 and now on Windows 10 this procedure to customize the list is not working.

    1) The popupmenu under "Open with" does not get new items, even when the "Always open with this program" was checked.
    The list keeps empty. I must select "Choose default program" to open the dialog.
    2) The previously selected bat file is not listed in "Recommended programs". So even the annoying extra click is not enough.
    3) I then must go to "Other installed programs", but the bat file is not even listed there
    4) I then must press the browse button to relocate the bat file again

    This workflow is annoyingly inefficient.

    I searched these forums and other places on the web and found several info on registry keys for applications, extensions, protocols etc etc. And also some tools to edit the OpenWith list.
    These tools actually seem not to work. There is not one tool which offers a clear editor to add/remove the items in the popup list of OpenWith. I can remove stuff or hide/disable it, but not add a completely new entry.

    Also manually editing the registry is a pain. Somehow the settings are not taken into account.

    I can not imagine others do not have this issue. There must be a change starting from Win8 which prevents to customize the OpenWith like we can in Win7.

    I hope that this issue can be solved in this thread, even do manual registry stuff. I must have the old workflow working for a nice efficient productivity.

    Is there a tool which actually is able to customize (add/hide/delete) the complete OpenWith feature?
    So editing the popup list, edit the recommended programs, edit the installed programs and customize the overall features?

    (if there is not a tool, a tip for me to create one !!!)

    But the registry is too complicated and spread over to give me a clear view how to setup my popuplist even manually.
    Nothing works.

    I'm looking for a clear step by step way to:

    - Add a new file extension
    - Register any application / bat file
    - Setup the default application for that filetype using bat file
    - Configure multiple bat files to the file type and have them listed in the popup list

    Any help is greatly appreciated !!
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2.    09 Sep 2015 #2

    Hi, I'm reminded of Nirsoft's Openwithview. It may address part of your need under 'Question'
    However it is not specified for Win 10.... only to Win 7. So... hmm..

    "OpenWithView is a small utility that displays the list of all available applications in the 'Open With' dialog-box of Windows, and allows you to easily disable/enable the applications in the list. When application is disabled, it won't be displayed in the 'Other Programs' section of the 'Open With' dialog-box.
    This utility can be useful if your 'Open With' window displays too much (many) applications, and you want to remove the applications that you don't use frequently."
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.   My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    09 Sep 2015 #4

    Nirsoft's FiletypesMan
    - no neat answer.. maybe there is one?
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  5.    09 Sep 2015 #5
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6. Posts : 3
    Windows 10 Pro (NL)
    Thread Starter
       09 Sep 2015 #6

    dalchina said: View Post
    Hi, I'm reminded of Nirsoft's Openwithview
    Yes, I already used that tool. Nice to see which apps can be in the list, but only for existing applications you can enable/disable/remove them.
    Not to create a completely new entry in the list.

    Maybe I should phrase the overall question to be more specific and discuss just one case which everyone can try to achieve in Windows 10:

    - We invent a new file extension for which no application is assigned for sure:


    - We create a list under "Open With" which contains 3 batch files to open this new file type:


    - Preferably use the build in Windows tools/setup screens etc to create such .xym openwith menu
    - When not possible, what are all the steps to take in registry to get this working

    I started this myself now and I'm not able to get any bat file under the OpenWith.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  7.    09 Sep 2015 #7

    This may be useful:
    Default Programs Editor
    This is just one screenshot of one function:
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  8. Posts : 3
    Windows 10 Pro (NL)
    Thread Starter
       09 Sep 2015 #8

    Yes, this comes close.
    But problem is:
    - can not add a new filetype
    - can not add an application (only select from existing list)

    So my quest to create the .XYM having 3 openwith entries is impossible using the tool.

    I really wonder why MS decided to make this so darn hard to do.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  9.    09 Sep 2015 #9

    Hi, you may not be able to do it in one neat series of steps - or spend more time looking for a way than doing it.

    Adding extensions: Try Gunners File Type Editor (don't have a URL to hand); Nirsoft's FileTypesMan (amongst others).

    Have a look at Dopus- Directory Opus - that has some features for manipulating Open With. How far they go I don't know. But it supports scripting, so maybe it may be of interest.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10. Posts : 31
    Windows 10 Pro (unfortunately)
       14 Sep 2015 #10

    Is there a way to change the default program in the explorer context menu for specific choices? For example I want to set the for image files (.jpg, .png etc.) to Paint Shop for the "Edit" choice, but leave Win picture viewer as the choice for "Preview". Paint Shop is already listed under "Open with Corel Paint Shop Pro, and appears under the "Open with" flyout.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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