How to associate a program with a file extension – Helpdesk Q&A

File extension errors

Struggling to open attachments? The Which? Computing Helpdesk helps a reader find the right program and banish the error message for good.

No program associated with this file

A reader asks:

I have received an email with an attachment. When I tried to open it, I got the message: ‘This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the folder options control panel’. How do I do this?

Read more help and advice from our Which? Computing Helpdesk

Which? Computing Helpdesk responds

You need to create a program association for the type of file you’re trying to open. This will ensure any similar files are always automatically opened by the correct program.

If you’re not sure which program will open a file type, try an internet search for the file type (e.g. doc, pdf, wav) to see which programs can open it. For instance, a file with the ‘.WMV’ file extension is a Windows Media Video file, so you need to use Windows Media Player to open it and play the video.

If the file has been emailed to you or downloaded, save it to the desktop. Locate the saved .WMV file on the desktop, then right-click it and select Open With… from the menu that appears.

A list of programs will appear, though not all of these are necessarily the best choice for opening your file.

Scroll to Windows Media Player and select it. Tick the box Always open this kind of file with this program, and click OK.

Now, any .WMV files you click on will be opened with Windows Media Player.

You can repeat these steps selecting the appropriate program for the type of file you’re trying to open, though with less common file types, it can sometimes be necessary to download new programs to open them.

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