Set Windows XP Program Access and Defaults

This is another addition to the newly added Windows Basics section of our site. This tutorial will show you how to use Windows XP’s Set Program Access and Defaults to set which programs will open for certain tasks. If you are tired of your MP3’s always opening with Windows Media Player, or your email defaulting to Outlook Express this tutorial is for you.

First go to start > Set Program Access and Defaults (note: This can also be found under Add/Remove Programs)
Set Program and Access Defaults

The set Program Access and Defaults Window will be displayed.
Set Program and Access Defaults

Here you have 4 options. I will explain each a little. Computer Manufacturer is the settings chose by your computer makers (you may not have this option on all computers). Basically it will use your current default and allow access to all other programs.
Set Program and Access Defaults

The Microsoft Windows option will default all programs to Microsoft programs.
Set Program and Access Defaults

Non-Microsoft will use any non-Microsoft application and remove access to the Microsoft version.
Set Program and Access Defaults

The choice that we are concerned with is the final one: Custom. Here you can decide which programs to use as your default and which programs to allow access to. For example if you want your mail to always open with outlook (even when you click a mailto link on the internet) then you will want to select it as y our default. If you do not want a program to be allowed to open uncheck the box that says “enable access”.
Set Program and Access Defaults

When you are finished making changes hit Ok to exit.

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  • kg

    pl send me how to deactive the above? so i can remove some of the software i not required. i am not using admin pass word. so i am not able to see “set programme access &…”

  • Sahil Mehan


    It really helped me alot in setting default Programs and making some applications as my Default…

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  • FB

    My set program access and default for some reason is in Arabic. Do you know how to change it back to english???

    Thanks!!! PLEASE HELP

  • vosela

    I would like to learn how to use, create database pages, etc. Where do I get assistance for this?

  • Tori

    Every time I change my access level it keeps going back to custom and it keeps some of my programs from running (i.e. my web browsers) Is there any way I can stop this?

  • Cherie Hale

    I often have trouble opening Windows Explorer. It hangs up. When I make the above default changes I’m usually able to get an internet connection. But the default settings aren’t saved so that I have to go throught this process every time I try to connect to the internet. Can you help?

  • I agree Cherie.I often have trouble opening Windows Explorer. It hangs up.

  • thank sir

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