From the Kenosha News on 3-20-05

What to Do when Files Won't Open

      This column presents a solution to several potential problems, including 1) files that no longer open in the proper program when you double-click on them, 2) E-mail attachments that don't open properly, and 3) web links to files that don't seem to know how to open.

      For example, I created web-based French pronunciation tutorial that plays sounds of people speaking French.  (You can read more about it on my web site at  On my laptop, the sounds originally opened neatly in Windows Media Player.  However, after I installed iTunes software on my computer, when I clicked on a sound, iTunes would launch and would not play the sound properly.  On my home desktop computer, clicking on the sound took me to another web page to open QuickTime.  How could I get the sounds to use Windows Media Player again?

      Another example is from a reader of this column who said that she used to be able to open attachments (.jpg picture files), and they would launch her Kodak software.  Now, they don't open. 

      The cause of both phenomena is most likely that the type of file we're trying to open is no longer associated with software it should be.  This could have happened when installing new software, or some web site or spyware could have "broken" the association.

      If this happens to you, here's what to do:

 1) Right-click the Start button (lower left corner of screen) and click on Explore.  This opens Windows Explorer.

 2) Click on the Tools Menu and then Folder Options...

 3) Click on the File Types tab.  Wait a bit while the flashlight searches for your file associations and creates a long list.

 4) Scroll down to the file type (extension) of the file you're trying to open.  (If you don't know this, you'll have to look carefully when you try to open the file to see its exact name.)  In this case, let's use JPG.  My computer is set to open .jpg files with Photoshop, so that's the application whose name appears.  Check if the application you want appears there.  If so, then there may be other issues, but you can try the rest of the steps anyway.

 5) Click on that file type to highlight it.

 6) Click on the Change button in the lower half of the window.

 7) Select the application that you want to use to open that type of file.  Click the OK button.

 8) Click the Close button.

 9) Test and see if the change worked!  (If not, try restarting and then test again.)

      On the screen you see in step 6, above, there is also a Restore button.  Another option would be to use Restore and see if that re-establishes your original file association. 

      As a last resort for any file that won't open, save it to disk; then launch the application FIRST.  Next, go to the File menu, select Open, and navigate to find the file and open it.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 3-20-05