In Windows Vista, file associations may be set at the specific file level via the Open With function or globally by using the Default Programs function in the Control Panel. Setting the association at the file level is quicker; however, setting it via the Control Panel option is a permanent solution that will apply to all files of the specified type or extension.
File associations tell Windows Vista what program to use to open each file type or extension and let users work more efficiently.
Setting File Associations by Individual File
Right click on the icon of the saved file in question. Choose the Open With option and then Choose Default Program. A list of possible installed programs appears and you can choose the correct one by clicking on the name.
Setting File Associations by File Type
Open the Control Panel, and click on the Default Programs icon. This produces two options: 1. Set your default programs or 2. Associate a file type or protocol with a program. Either option will allow you to change file associations by choosing from a list of installed programs.
The Default Programs icon also allows the user to change the Autoplay program for CDs and DVDs and change program access settings.