Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Lock Your File Types In Windows 7 And Windows Vista | Do Not Allow Applications To Change Defaults

Tech companies used to spend millions trying to get you to buy their products (OK, they still do), but now the race is on to be “the default.” Microsoft wants its Live Search web site to be the default search engine in IE, and Google sued Microsoft to try to prevent this before Windows Vista shipped.

Companies pay PC manufacturers to preinstall trial versions of their software on all their machines so their products can be the default. And when you install an application on your PC, the installer invariably makes the new program the default for all the file types it supports.

Why is being the default so important? Because people don’t change the defaults. As a result, software companies—Microsoft included—make a habit out of steamrolling over your preferences to promote their own products. Luckily, you have a defense, and it takes place in the Registry.

There are basically two approaches to protecting your file types: you can back them up so they can be restored in case they’re ever overwritten, and you can “lock” them, preventing such changes in the first place.

There’s actually a third way to protect your file types, by way of Vista’s UserChoice feature . It’s not a great solution, but it may be effective in some circumstances.

The easiest way to back up your file types is to create Registry patches as explained in “Create Export and Import Data With Registry Patches”. To make the backup effective, you have to include all the keys.  For instance, if you’re backing up the file type for plain-text (.txt) files, your Registry patch should include all of these keys:

And if you want to include other related filename extensions, such as .log, .ini, and .csv (to name a few), you’ll want to include those keys as well.

So, if your file type associations for text files ever get wiped out, just doubleclick your Registry patch backup to restore them. But you can lock your file types by setting restrictive permissions on the aforementioned keys. That way, no application, no installer, and not even Windows itself can change them unless you unlock them first.

Warning: Most programs and installers won’t have a problem with locked file types; they’ll likely just ignore the error and move on. But it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that an application may crash or refuse to continue until it has all the Registry access it needs. In this case, you may need to unlock the affected file types first, so you’ll want to Back Up The Registry In Windows as described in my earlier post.

To remove the lock, just select a locked file type (you can click the leftmost column header to group all locked file types together) and click the Unlock button.


About bench3 -

Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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