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Last post Author Topic: is there an ultimate file extension manager (to work with windows 7, at least).  (Read 19829 times)

nudone

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i'm slowly moving from a clunky Vista setup to a nice new Windows 7 system (dual booting between them).

i've been trying to ignore this problem ever since i've been using Vista and now everything is about to get messed up on the new Win7 setup, i'd like to try and be ready...

the (age-old) problem is trying to control which file extensions relate to which program AND the icon associated to each extension.

i guess, i must just use a horrible set of programs that just arrogantly assume they are allowed to take over my system on each reboot - otherwise, my extensions would remain how i set them.

so, is there an extension manager util that will 100% most definitely take charge - compatible with Windows 7.

the obvious requirements are:

- ability to set a custom icon for a file extension AND LOCK IT (so naughty programs can't swap their icon over).

- ability to set the program associated with the file extension AND LOCK IT (again, so naughty programs don't take control of it).

maybe it's not possible?

big criminals seem to be web browsers (or maybe just IE related). at the moment i've got stupid maxthon icons for all .url's - can i change them? no way. other web related extensions also seem to have trouble remembering who they are.


i just find it bizarre that, after all these years, there's still this nonsense with managing files/icons/extensions.


Curt

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in Vista it is: Controlpanel > Programs > Standard programs > set standards (my translations from Danish). I don't know about Win 7.

nudone

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thanks, Curt.

but that method doesn't really allow me to set my own custom icons (unless i've overlooked something).

eg. i set my own custom icon for the .url extension - regardless of which is the default browser.

steeladept

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but that method doesn't really allow me to set my own custom icons (unless i've overlooked something).

eg. i set my own custom icon for the .url extension - regardless of which is the default browser.
I know it did in WinXP (for me at least, though it didn't stop them from rehijacking your settings).  I would make a guess that it is the same, just not easy to find out how.  Dang, now that I try in WinXP, I can't remember where to make the changes....  I will post again when I find out how - Maybe Windows didn't change that method.  At least it is worth a shot...

daddydave

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As far as locking the extension, I would think WinPatrol can do this, but I am not sure. Then again, it didn't say squat about Thunderbird changing the mailto: handler. EDIT: It's supposed to monitor file extension changes, maybe I missed the warning.

For editing the file association, the icon, and all the "verbs" associated with the file type, NirSoft FileTypesMan is the best I've seen. I know Vista and Windows 7 cripple some of this functionality, so I went looking, and it was pretty ugly out there until I found it.

filetypesman.gif

EDIT: Added screenshot (from the web site, not my Windows 7 x64 system.)
If bad things happen to other people, it's karma. If bad things happen to me, it's kismat!
« Last Edit: June 10, 2010, 01:50:53 PM by daddydave »

steeladept

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Can't remember how to do it any other way now.  BUT for windows XP I can always go into the "My Computer" icon and in explorer choose the Tools>Folder Options... menu item.  There (and only there incidentally from what I can see), you can change the registered file types under the file types tab.  In the Advanced button, there is the option of changing the icon for that extention as well as how it behaves (what it opens, where it prints to, etc.) as well as what the default option on click is.  I use it rarely, but when I do, it is a godsend.

Hope that helps point you in the right direction - assuming you didn't already know all of this and it is still available on newer versions of windows.... ;)

steeladept

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For editing the file association, the icon, and all the "verbs" associated with the file type, NirSoft FileTypesMan is the best I've seen. I know Vista and Windows 7 cripples some of this functionality, so I went looking, and it was pretty ugly out there until I found it.
Doh, I keep forgetting about this.  Maybe this time I will remember to download and install it once I get home....

twinkler

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You might also want to check out Default Programs Editor:

Quote
Features

    * File Type Settings:
          o Add, Edit, and Delete context menu items
          o Edit file type information (such as icon and description)
          o Change an extension's associated file type
    * Autoplay Settings:
          o Add, Edit, and Delete autoplay handler programs
          o Change which autoplay options are available for any media type
          o Change the default autoplay handler
    * Default Programs Settings:
          o Add or Remove default associations (possible to check, but not un-check, in Windows)
    * Additional Features:
          o Disable the "Search web for unknown extension" dialog
          o Standalone utility, or install as a Control Panel applet
          o Make direct changes to the system registry, or export edits as .reg files
          o Designed for Vista and Windows 7 with UAC support

Curt

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http://www.donationc...15.msg80101#msg80101

IconPackager
http://www.stardock....oducts/iconpackager/


Quote
System Requirements

● Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
● Impulse must be installed in order to download and update software


IconPackager 5, guided tour: http://forums.wincustomize.com/369429
http://www.wincustom...explore/iconpackager

+1 for Icon Packager. I've used it in the past without any trouble whatsoever. You can change your icons from default to whatever you want and back again without worrying about corrupting your default settings. Of course, YMMV!

nudone

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thanks for the suggestions everyone.

i'm now downloading IconPackager with the hope that will be different to the rest of the suggested programs.

it looks like there is something weird/wrong with my Vista setup as the icons for .url, .htm, .html (maybe more) just don't wish to participate. maxthon seems to override any changes to .url and dreamweaver appears to control .htm and .html (maxthon isn't even using the correct file type icon - it uses it's own .exe icon instead of the document icon).

i'll have to keep playing about for a bit - but it seems there's a connection missing between what all of these extension managers think they are controlling and what is actually happening on my system. weird.

fingers crossed this download work better...


nudone

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right. IconPackager doesn't appear to work any better than the others.

if i find a solution to this mess i'll post back. at the moment i'm assuming this system is just too messed up.

Darwin

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WinPatrol does this for me... Everytime an application tries to change a file association WinPatrol pops up to confirm that I want the change made.
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

nudone

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okay. i admit i'd not tried WinPatrol yet. i had it on my XP system - but not on this Vista setup.

i'll give it a go now...

nudone

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just thought i'd report back with a warning - should anyone else be determined to destroy their system just for a few icons.

i've had the most success using FileTypesMan and thought i'd cracked the problem. unfortunately not. just by changing the .htm and .html icons i managed to force myself into wiping my Win7 and using a backup image - as system restore refused to work (seems like i may as well just turn off system restore). i suppose i should have done a backup of the registry before playing about with things - but i never do that.

i won't go into detail as it's too tiring to type out (and dull). but, essentially, to change the htm/html icons i had to break the connection with the system's browser - but then that means lots of programs break along with it. anything that relies upon the browser for displaying information breaks and an "iframe" error pops up instead.

now, obviously, you'd think that just reversing whatever i'd done would make things work perfectly again - not so. somehow other, deeper, things must get broken. reinstalling browsers and such does not correct things either.


Carol Haynes

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Not pretty (and I haven't tried it) but this article covers how to change a filetype icon in 7 and Vista:

http://www.winhelpon...windows-7-and-vista/

nudone

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thanks, Carol. i don't think that will be any better than the FileTypesMan method (which provides a great deal of options to play about with).

it looks like windows has file types and FILE TYPES that are a bit more controlled by the system. the problem i've found is that changing these "special" types will then change other icons elsewhere - they are obviously connected by the system.

i wasn't expecting it to be so awful as this. i assumed, as anyone would, that you can just change an extension's icon and that's it - done.

in most cases it isn't going to be a problem; it's just these special extensions that are the problem. i'm sure i've been able to change these troubling file types in the past - but i can't remember if i just learned to live with how things broke (i think i must have).

perhaps i'm just completely missing something. if someone would like to have a try (and risk breaking their system in the process), i'd like to be able to have different icons for the extensions:

.url
.htm
.html (.htm and .html have to have the same icon by the looks of things.)

associating a program as default to an extension will change the extension's icon. no problem there, that's easy. but it causes things to break elsewhere that you wouldn't expect, e.g. i simply set htm/html to be associated with Notepad++ which then allows me to change the extension icon - but then this creates iframe errors with other programs that expect htm/l to be associated with a browser (RoboForm breaks because of this).

trying to change the .htm/l icon whilst keeping it associated with a browser just seems to let the browser override whatever you try to do.

(these aren't the only extensions i'm trying to control. i've managed to set most of what i wanted but not without having to use the more advanced settings of FileTypesMan. it isn't just a case of changing the icon; MIME type, Perceived Type and User Choice have to be carefully set also. unfortunately this isn't enough for htm/l and url)


p.s.
i'll make a backup of my system and see if the winhelponline blog method works.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2010, 04:13:10 AM by nudone »

JavaJones

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Odd behavior you're seeing there. I've had .htm, .html, etc. associated with text editors quite often, over many iterations of Windows, and it's never caused problems with the browser or OS in general. There's a difference between a *file* of type and a URL shortcut. Maybe the issue is you're trying to associate URL shortcuts with a non-browser? I know you can associate them with non-MS browsers just fine though...

- Oshyan

nudone

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hmm, that's good then. i was beginning to doubt what i'd done in the past (or thought what i'd done in the past).

i shall have to look again. currently i'm not trying to change anything with .URL as it just creates problems instantly - and i can accept that just has to stay the way it is (taking the icon from whatever program is set as the default browser).

perhaps it's just that i was using Maxthon as the default browser. OR, maybe it's this FileTypesMan program that is breaking things.

i'll do another backup of the system and try again. (can't believe how difficult this is - it's a clean install of Win 7 so it's not like i've had time to mess it all up.)

superboyac

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I've asked about this before.  It was hard finding something good.  The FileTypesMan is something new to me, and it looks pretty good.  I can't try it because it's blocked here at work, but I'll give it a try later.

The one I settled with a while back (after a long, hard search) is called Types:
http://types.sourceforge.net/
i don't know if it works with Windows 7.  The website doesn't say it does, but you never know.

joby_toss

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I had similar problems while trying to make Opera as the default browser.
Something is definitely wrong in Win7x64 with the file types (and protocols)! Long time since a system issue generated so many curses from me!
I am a 3D body trapping a single dimension soul.

cyberdiva

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I've had .htm, .html, etc. associated with text editors quite often, over many iterations of Windows, and it's never caused problems with the browser or OS in general. There's a difference between a *file* of type and a URL shortcut. Maybe the issue is you're trying to associate URL shortcuts with a non-browser? I know you can associate them with non-MS browsers just fine though...
Perhaps I've misunderstood what you said, but my experience with file associations has been quite different.  I have one .htm file that I use as my browser's homepage, but I also want to be able to edit it easily in my text editor.  Though obviously I can go to it in my file manager, right click, select Open with, and choose UltraEdit (my text editor), I'd rather be able simply to click on it and have it open in UltraEdit.  However, when I set the file associations so that .htm files would open in UltraEdit, that definitely screwed things up, since from then on, clicking on any .htm file opened it in UltraEdit, NOT in my Firefox browser.   It wouldn't open in my browser.  Are you saying that you have had a different experience?  I should add that I'm basing my experience on WinXP Pro 32-bit. 

nudone

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hmm, it definitely isn't as simple as it should be.

superboyac, i've tried Types and was using it with Vista - though i found it to suffer from the same problem all the other tools have. they all work if you are just changing "normal" file extensions. or, again, maybe it depends on the browser you are using (and other programs, e.g. i've had Notepad++ doing strange things when set to the be editor of several file types - change one extensions icon and they all change. only way around it is to break the connection with the MIME type, perceived type, user choice).

JavaJones

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I've had .htm, .html, etc. associated with text editors quite often, over many iterations of Windows, and it's never caused problems with the browser or OS in general. There's a difference between a *file* of type and a URL shortcut. Maybe the issue is you're trying to associate URL shortcuts with a non-browser? I know you can associate them with non-MS browsers just fine though...
Perhaps I've misunderstood what you said, but my experience with file associations has been quite different.  I have one .htm file that I use as my browser's homepage, but I also want to be able to edit it easily in my text editor.  Though obviously I can go to it in my file manager, right click, select Open with, and choose UltraEdit (my text editor), I'd rather be able simply to click on it and have it open in UltraEdit.  However, when I set the file associations so that .htm files would open in UltraEdit, that definitely screwed things up, since from then on, clicking on any .htm file opened it in UltraEdit, NOT in my Firefox browser.   It wouldn't open in my browser.  Are you saying that you have had a different experience?  I should add that I'm basing my experience on WinXP Pro 32-bit. 

No, I'm not suggesting it works any differently from what you say. Specifically, that .htm extensions, when associated with another program that is not a browser (e.g. a text editor) means that *all* .htm files will *always* open with that program. That is presumably what you want when you associate a file type though. I don't see a way you can have e.g. .htm associated with 2 apps at once. It's URL shortcuts that I never wanted to associate with any other program, and which I think are perhaps dangerous to reassociate.

- Oshyan

nudone

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i give up. can't believe how much time i've wasted on this now. i'm not going to try anything else as it will push me over the edge.

i'll accept it might just be the programs i'm using. just as i think i've got it all working either Maxthon or Notepad++ will override whatever i've done. they appear to be fighting for control over my extensions. or, you could say that windows just doesn't work "correctly" when it comes to a few file types (it's trying to be too clever - or these programs are).

.url is meant to open with Maxthon - no problem. let maxthon control the url icon i don't care anymore (i can edit the file type icon directly inside the Maxthon .exe if i want to).

.htm and .html are meant to open with Notepad++ - which they do - until Maxthon decides to take control again. setting Maxthon not to check if it's the default browser helps - but only if i don't try to change the icons for these file types.

.htm/l and .php are meant to have their own distinct file type icons - but as Notepad++ can't remember what it's doing it decides to use the same icon for every file type it's associated with.

the overall problem appears to be this (other than me being stupid enough to try to change file type icons)...


file types associated with Notepad++ can only have distinct icons if they are "disconnected" from Notepad++ using FileTypesMan. they still open with Notepad++ but .htm/l, .php, .txt, .nfo, etc all have their own icons. this would be almost perfect but as these extensions have just been "disconnected", Maxthon somehow realises this and takes control of the .htm and .html extension again.

so, it's a never ending circle of breaking and disconnecting the extensions when there are two programs trying to apply their own "universal" file type icons to these extensions.

one terrible workaround would to be use different editors for .txt, .php, .htm/l as each program would associate its icon to the file type it edits. i can't believe i'm contemplating this but i may just do it. i like Notepad++, it's quick and has the features i need - but now i'm beginning to despise it. and maxthon. and windows 7. and windows vista. and this computer. and this keyboard. and my eyes.

JavaJones

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This sounds like it might be an issue with the apps in question, although to be fair I don't think MS has necessarily made it crystal clear how to handle this sort of thing, what with system-managed file type associations, app-managed associations, MS apps (e.g. Windows Media Player) stealing associations, auto-association on startup for some apps, etc, etc. It's a confusing mess for sure, but I think it's partly precipitated by MS not having a really good, clean way to handle it all.

- Oshyan