Tony says, I recently re-installed Windows after purchasing a new hard drive. After installing QuickTime, many of my media types that were handled by Windows Media Player are assigned to QuickTime, even though I specifically unchecked the boxes during QuickTime install. Now I can’t get any of these file types reassigned to Windows Media Player. No matter what I do they still launch QuickTime. How can I fix this?
QuickTime isn’t the only culprit when it comes to stolen file associations. There was a time when the media players seemed to be in constant competition to see who could mangle your settings more. Fortunately, most of the media player market learned to play nice, recognizing that file associations should actually be decided by the customer, not an arrogant cadre of marketing wonks who put one over on the quality assurance team before shipping the latest software build. Even Real plays nice in this area now and I think they may be the originator of the practice. Apple remains virtually alone in their continued insistence on flubbing the settings to determine which player controls your experience. To fix the problem, bypass your media players altogether and go straight for the Windows shell.
Open Windows Explorer and choose Folder Options from the Tools menu. Click the File Types tab and manually go through and select the file types hijacked by QuickTime, changing them to Windows Media Player or whatever your preferred media player may be. For instance, if QuickTime is associated with WAV files, find WAV in the list, select it and then click the Change button next to Opens With. Depending on how many associations got heisted, this may take awhile. A faster solution might be to uninstall QuickTime and then open Windows Media Player to re-associate the appropriate file types. At that point, you may elect to either re-install QuickTime or seek out an alternative player for MOV files. Keep in mind that iTunes requires QuickTime to function, so uninstalling may not be an option if you are an iPod owner.
For some reason, iTunes manages to re-associate itself with MP3 and WAV files on one of the systems at my house, despite my virtually never using the app. One way to keep association hijacking from ever occurring in the future is to install the shareware application Associate This. It’s not free, but it’s the best thing I’ve found for locking down file associations and preventing rogue apps from trying to commandeer the ship. Unless you need QuickTime functionality, you may want to dump it altogether and download a copy of QuickTime Alternative.