“Types”: easily configure the default apps, icons, and context menu entries for file types

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“Types” is a lightweight open source configuration utility designed to enable users to edit the program associations, icons, context menus, and other properties of various file types.

If you’ve ever wanted to change the program used to open a certain file type, or change the icon used for a filetype, or add or remove a context menu entry that appears when right clicking on a file type then this program is for your.

Here are some notes on this program:

  • Finding the file type in the interface: pressing a key within the program interface will cause it to jump to the extensions which start with that key. From that point you can simply navigate with the arrow keys to hone in on the extension you want.
  • Types Icons dialogChanging used icon for a file type: in the Types interface, right click filetype then properties. In the icon tab you can select any of the icons displayed or browse your hard drive for an icon or icon library (ICO, ICL, DLL, or EXE). Once selected, exit the dialog and then the Types program. You might need to wait a few seconds for the new default icon to kick in.
  • Changing filetype program association: right click filetype then properties. In the class tab scroll down the list of apps under “Use linked class”; you will need to select the appropriate class (e.g. for mp3’s, “iTunes.mp3” rather than simply “iTunes”). As such in most cases it may be easier to simply re-associate file types using the windows “open with” context menu (more info here).
  • Types Class dialog screenshotAdding/removing context menu entries: this is one of the coolest parts. You can add or remove context menu entries that are displayed when right clicking on a file type. When using an external app for your new context menu entry you will need to know the command line syntax that get it to function correctly.
  • Portable: just unzip and run, no installation necessary.

Some notes on changing icons:

  • I noticed that once I changed my JPG icon all the other image file types changed as well. And although this was a welcome development, I tried, without success, to have the JPG filetype icon changed on its own without all other image types. I then changed the icon used for MP3s and it changed the icon for that filetype only, not the the icons for all audio file types. I am now thinking that this might have something to do with the default image viewer I am using to open JPG and all other image types, but not 100% sure about this.
  • To revert back to your original, default icon you will have to re-assign the icon and point to the executable that was originally used to handle that file type.

This is a wonderfully lightweight program whose simplicity and straightforward interface are in direct contrast to the flexibility and powerful functions that it provides to the user. Which is not to say that it cannot be made even more user friendly (it certainly can be), but a very useful program all the same.

[Thanks go to my friend Brockman for letting me know about this one].

Version Tested: 1.0.1 Stable

Compatibility: Windows XP, Vista. Requires .Net framework v2.

Go to the program page to download the latest version (approx 131K); Note: you want the binary installer not the source code.