Configure an Open With Item

Applies To: Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012

The Open With preference item allows you to create, configure, and delete an Open With association with a specific file name extension. Before you create an Open With preference item, you should review the behavior of each type of action possible with the extension.

Creating an Open With item

To create a new Open With preference item

  1. Open the Group Policy Management Console . Right-click the Group Policy object (GPO) that should contain the new preference item, and then click Edit .

  2. In the console tree under User Configuration , expand the Preferences folder, and then expand the Control Panel Settings folder.

  3. Right-click the Folder Options node, point to New , and select Open With .

  4. In the New Open With Properties dialog box, select an Action for Group Policy to perform. (For more information, see "Actions" in this topic.)

  5. Enter Open With settings for Group Policy to configure or remove. (For more information, see "Open With settings" in this topic.)

  6. Click the Common tab, configure any options, and then type your comments in the Description box. (For more information, see Configure Common Options.)

  7. Click OK . The new preference item appears in the details pane.


This type of preference item provides a choice of four actions: Create , Replace , Update , and Delete . The behavior of the preference item varies with the action selected and whether the Open With association already exists.


Create a new Open With association. If a file name extension in the Open With item exists within the user's profile, then the new association is not created.


Remove an existing Open With association. An association exists when the file name extension in the Open With item exists within the user's profile. No action is performed if the association does not exist.


Delete and recreate an Open With association. The net result of the Replace action overwrites all existing settings associated with the Open With association. If the Open With association does not exist, then the Replace action creates a new Open With association.


Modify an Open With association. The action differs from Replace in that it updates the settings defined within the preference item. All other settings remain as they were previously configured. If the Open With association does not exist, then the Update action creates a new Open With association.

Open With settings


File name extension

Associated Program

Type the path and name of the application you want to associate with the file name extension. Alternatively, you can click Browse (…) and select the application. Press F3 to display a list of variables from which you can select.

Set as default

Select this check box to make the associated application the default application Windows uses to open the file name extension.

Additional considerations

  • Open With appears on the Windows Explorer's shortcut menu when there is more than one Open With association.

  • You can use item-level targeting to change the scope of preference items.

  • Preference items are available only in domain-based GPOs.

Additional references