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WinFAQ: AbiWord Opens my Word Files

_.doc files are opened in AbiWord instead of Word or Wordpad_

Chuck Hansen asked:

After installing Abiword, all files I had created with Wordpad have been changed to Abiword files and now open with Abiword even though they are still .doc files.


What has happened is that the program associated with the .doc extension has been changed from Wordpad (or Word) to AbiWord in the Windows registry (IIUC).

This commonly happens during the installation of AbiWord because there is an option selected by default to do this. (This was the case -- it either has been changed or will be changed in future distributions of AbiWord.)

_See also WinFaqCanAbiWordOpenMyWordFilesByDefault, which is the converse of this question. _Maybe they should be combined into one?_

  • Contents*

Fixing the Problem in:

Windows in General

In general, for most (all?) versions of Windows, there are two ways:

1. Right-click an icon of the desired file type, and select the "Open With" option, choose the desired program, and check the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file".

2. By editing the file type information through the Windows Explorer interface.

Option (1), if available, is easier. Option (2) is more powerful. Option (1) will only work for file types that have an "Open With" right-click option enabled, and not all do. (For those that dont, it can be added via a similiar procedure to that of Option (2).

Ive given detailed instructions for Option (2) under Windows XP. They work pretty much the same (modulo small interface changes) for Win95, Win98 and WinMe -- below are specific instructions for a few versions.


1. Open Windows Explorer. (This is the file browser; you can open it by double-clicking upon the My Computer desktop icon.)

2. In the Menu, select Tools->Folder Options.

3. Select the File Types tab and wait for the list of file types to become populated.

4. Select the file extension for which you are interested in changing the default behaviour. (You can scroll down, or speed up the process by typing the first letter of the extension name.)

5. In the details box (beneath the list of file types) there should be two buttons: Change and Advanced. The Change button should be beside a line starting out as "Opens with:". Click the Change Button.

6. A list of programs, divided into "Recommended Programs" and "Other Programs" should be visible. If the program you desire to use is the, click on it and skip to step (8).

7. If your desired program is not there, click the browse button and use the standard interface to find and select the executable you wish to associate with the file type.

8. Make sure the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" check-box is selected.

9. Click OK and youre done.


_If you know how, add a procedure here._


If you need to change a file association in Windows2000 the following instructions should help. It worked for me. However, I am a FreeBSD unix type, the information is free therefore YMMV.

Instructions follow:

You may want to change the association of a file name extension from one program to another program. To change an existing file association:

1. In My Computer or Windows Explorer, right-click a file with the extension whose association that you want to change, and then click Open With.

2. In the Open With dialog box, click the program that you want to use to open the file type. Or, click Choose Program to choose the program that you want. If the program is not listed, click Other to locate your program.

3. Click the Always use the selected program to open this kind of file option.

From: Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - 320033


_If you know how, add a procedure here._


In Win 95, one way to correct the problem is to:

  • Start Windows Explorer
  • Select View --> Options
  • Select the File Types tab

Now my instructions get a little vague -- if you (Chuck) or anybody else go through these successfully maybe you can fix them up.

_It has been a while since I used Win95, but the detailed instructions for WinXP given above are almost the same as for Win95, but for a few minor details of the interface._

Basically, you want to search the list for the AbiWord Document and Wordpad file associations (Wordpad doesnt show up on my list, maybe because I have Word installed).

Check the file type details under each (by selecting, for example, AbiWord Document) and make sure .doc is not included for AbiWord but is included for Wordpad (or Word, if you prefer). If this is not the case, use "Edit" to delete "doc" from the AbiWord entry and add it to the Wordpad (or Word) entry.

If you are using another version of Windows, I think the steps are fairly similar.

Im sure that this can also be done by directly editing the registry, but I cant give you exact instructions, and suggest that you dont attempt it unless you know what youre doing.


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