How to Fix “This file does not have an app associated with it” 

Windows is one of the most widely used operating systems in the world, and it has been progressively improving over time with new features. But Windows users often see the “This file does not have an app associated with it” error message on their systems.

It is one of the most annoying errors you can experience on your computer apart from the 0x0 and 0xc00007b errors.

It’s common with many Windows versions, including Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

The full error message displayed by Ms-settings:display (or Explorer.exe) is the following:

This file does not have an app associated with it for performing this action. Please install an app or, if one is already installed, create an association in the Default Apps Settings page.

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably looking for a way to easily solve this problem on your computer. The good news is that while this problem is very frustrating, there’s actually an easy way to fix it. Let’s take a look!

What Does “This File Does Not Have an App Associated With It” Mean?

The “This File Does Not Have an App Associated With It” message means that there is no program on your computer that can open the file you have selected.

For example, you may have an image you wish to print, but the image has no associated program for printing it. To remedy this, you must find an app or program that either does the specific task you desire or which can perform the task.

How to Fix “This File Does Not Have an App Associated With It for Performing This Action”

1. Install the program that can open the file

Most commonly, this error is displayed when Windows cannot find any apps that can open the file. Therefore, you have to download and install a program that supports the file extension of the file you want to open.

The file extension is the word that appears after the dot in a filename. For example, if a file is named image.png, the file extension is “.png”.

You can search on Google to find programs and apps that can open the file extension you want.

2. Install and register Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps again

One solution that works for many users is to re-register UWP apps using PowerShell.

Before you start, make sure that you sign in with an administrator account. Now follow these steps:

1. Search for Command Prompt, right-click on it, and select Run as administrator.

2. Input the following commands one by one and press Enter after each:

  • powershell
  • Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register “$($_.InstallLocation)AppXManifest.xml”}

3. Repair the corrupted system files

The error is often caused by corrupted system files. You can fix this by using the Windows System File Checker (SFC) and DISM.

Here’s what you need to do to repair system files that may be corrupted.

  • Click Start > All Programs > Accessories, then right-click on Command Prompt.
  • Select Run as administrator.

  • You may be prompted to put an administrator password or confirmation, simply type the password or provide the needed confirmation.
  • Type the following commands one by one and press the Enter key after each command to run it:
    • dism /online /cleanup-image /restorehealth
    • sfc /scannow

Now close the window and restart your computer to check if the issue is resolved.

4. Update Windows

This bug could be a result of a corrupted system file or registry key. Furthermore, the problem can also occur if your system is outdated, which is why it is highly recommended that you update Windows.

To check if there is a new Windows update available, follow these steps:

1. Open Settings by pressing the Windows + I keys together.

2. Scroll down and click on Update and Security.

update and security settings windows

3. Windows will now check for available updates. If there are any available, click the download button to install them.

5. Scan your computer for malware

Sometimes, it is malware or virus that causes the error. Certain viruses can change file associations and the default program to open the files. This can cause the error to pop up.

To prevent these attacks, you will need to install a good antivirus program and scan your computer to check if any viruses are found.

6. Reset Windows

If all else fails, you should try resetting Windows. It will reset all your computer’s settings back to the default.

  1. Press Windows + I keys to open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and choose Update and Security.
  3. Click Recovery in the sidebar, then select Get Started located under the “Reset this PC”.
  4. Select Keep my files and then click Next.
  5. Click on Reset to begin the process of restoring Windows back to its original settings.

6. Create a new Local Administrator account

This is another way to fix the “This file does not have an app associated with it” error. Follow these steps to start the creation of a new Local Administrator account:

  • Choose Start > Settings > Accounts.
  • Choose Family and other users from the sidebar.
  • Select Add someone else.
  • Enter the username and password, enter a password hint, and then choose Next.
  • On the next screen, choose the option Add a user without a Microsoft account.
  • Complete creating the new user account.

7. Perform an In-place Upgrade

If Windows 10 apps are not working, you can perform an in-place upgrade to fix the issue. An in-place upgrade will not erase your personal files, settings, and applications.

Here’s how to perform an in-place upgrade:

  • Go to Microsoft’s official website.
  • Download the Windows 10 installation media.
  • Create a bootable USB flash drive or DVD according to the instructions.

Plug the bootable USB drive or insert the DVD into your PC, then restart it. When you see the “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD” message, press any key on your keyboard. Then follow the on-screen instructions to reinstall Windows 10.

How Do I Reset File Associations?

Associating a file with a program allows you to open the file by clicking on it. You can do this through File Associations. The following steps will show you how to reset the file associations for certain programs in Windows:

  • Open Start Menu and type “default programs” into the search box.
  • Click on Default Programs.
  • Underneath “Set your default programs”, click on the program that you want to reset the default settings for. In the popup window, select Set this program as default.
  • Close the window.

How do I set an association in the Default Apps settings?

The default apps settings screen is used for setting associations for protocols and file types. To open the default apps settings screen, open the Settings app (Windows + I keys), and navigate to Apps > Default Apps.

The default apps settings screen lets you change the programs associated with a specific protocol or file type. For example, you can change the default web browser or photo viewer.

To set an association, click on the current application and then select the one you want to use instead. If it’s not listed, browse to its location on your PC and then, select it.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, this article has proven useful—if nothing else, it should help you to understand the problem associated with “The file does not have an app associated with it,” and helped you to overcome the issue.

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