In Windows Vista, users can effortlessly manage the programs that the operating system uses by default. Not happy with what Vista's built-in components have to offer? Then you can simply change the platform’s default applications to the third-party programs you prefer. Vista features the Default Programs feature tucked away under Control Panel in the Start Menu. Opening it will bring up a window designed to permit you to "Set your default programs," "Associate a file type or protocol with a program," "Change AutoPlay settings" and "Set default programs for this computer."
Via the first option, you can configure a program to be the default for all the file types and protocols it supports. Clicking on "Set your default programs" will present a list with a collection of applications associated with the various most common tacks such as Internet browsing, media playing, text editing and email and image viewing. Here you will be permitted to select the default browser, picture viewer, media player, text editor and desktop email client. Microsoft's own Windows Calendar, Windows Contacts, Windows Mail, Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Gallery and Internet Explorer 7 can be thrown into the background if you wish to use alternative solutions.
Via Default Programs, you will be able to determine the associations between certain programs and file specific types and protocols. By selecting the extensions presented to you in an exhaustive list, Vista will indicate the program currently associated with it but will also enable you to easily change that application. "Use this option to fine-tune default programs based on the file type or protocol. For example, you can have all .jpg image files open using a specific program, and .bmp image files open using a different program," reads Microsoft's invitation to use the feature.
Additionally, you can have full control over how your operating system will respond to different types of media or devices by changing the AutoPlay settings. Vista can be configured to perform AutoPlay actions in relation to Audio and Enhanced Audio CDs, DVD movies, Software and Games, Pictures, Video and Audio files, Blank CDs, DVDs and Mixed content, HD DVD movies, Blu-ray movies, DVD-audio, Video CD, and Super video CD.
And of course, last but not least, Vista allows for custom settings involving program access and computer defaults. "Set Program Access and Computer Defaults is a tool to set default programs for activities such as browsing the web and sending e-mail for everyone who uses the computer." Microsoft explained.
Microsoft, Windows Vista, Tips and Tricks, Fine-tune, Deafult Programs, Knowledgebase