IT Pro is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

How to set new defaults for Windows 10

Updated to Windows 10? Here's 10 ways to make it your own

The Microsoft Windows logo with lights shining through on top of a dark background

If you've upgraded to Windows 10, or bought a PC running the new operating system, you'll notice that Microsoft's apps are the defaults for all your PC's functions (Groove Music for playing music, Photos for viewing photos, and so on). We'll show you how to set new defaults in just a few clicks. We'll also show you a secret way to use Gmail in Chrome as your default email service, how to set your default printer and scanner, and how to change your default search engine within Microsoft Edge.

Step 1

First, ensure that you've installed any third-party program or app that you want to set as your default. Now open the Start menu, click Settings, System, then click Default apps'. Some programs may have automatically set themselves as defaults after you installed them. If you're happy with that, then leave it as the default. If not, click the Reset button at the bottom to reset all your apps to Microsoft's defaults. You'll now see Microsoft Edge as your default web browser, Films & TV as your default video player, and so on. You can now systematically change each one.

Step 2

To change your default app for any of the functions (such as Music player'), click the current default (Groove Music). You'll now see a list of installed programs/apps that you can use as your default for that function. Click to select the one you want (such as VLC media player'). If a program or app you want to use doesn't appear within the list, then use the method outlined in Step 6 to set it as your default.

Step 3

Your default Email app is set to Mail. If you want to change this to Outlook, then ensure you've installed Office on your PC. To install the latest version, go to www.office.com/myaccount and log in with your Microsoft account. Next, click the Install button, run the downloaded setup file and wait for it to finish. This installs Office 365, which you can use for free for one month on up to five devices (it costs 7.99 per month or 79.99 per year, thereafter). After installing, open Outlook and log into your account. Now return to the Default apps' settings and set your default Mail app to Outlook.

Step 4

You can set Gmail as your default email. To do this, open Chrome (www.snipca.com/19773), go to www.gmail.com and log in to your account. Next, click the Protocol Handler icon (at the right of your browser bar). If you don't see this icon, skip to the next step. Now select Allow, then click Finished. Click OK if you see a pop-up message on your screen. Now return to the Default apps' section, click your default email app (Mail) and select Google Chrome.

Step 5

After doing that, open Chrome again, click the three lines at the top right, Settings, then scroll to the bottom and click +Show advanced settings'. In the Privacy section, click the Content settings' button. Now scroll to the Handlers section and click the Manage handlers' button. Click the mailto' dropdown menu, select mail.google.com', then click Finished twice. From now on, whenever you click an email address link, it'll open within Gmail in Chrome, ready for you to write your email.

Step 6

Photos is your default Photo viewer' app. If you click to change it (see Step 2), you'll see a list of alternative programs. You'll notice that some third-party programs (such as the popular IrfanView www.snipca.com/19774) won't appear, even if they're installed on your PC. Using IrfanView as an example, we'll show you how to add it to the list. First, scroll to the bottom of the Default apps' section and click Set defaults by app'. You'll now see an alphabetical list of all the programs and apps on your PC. Select IrfanView, then click Set this program as default'. This will set IrfanView as the default program for all the file types associated with it (photos, images and screenshots).

Step 7

Alternatively, you can choose which file type you want to set IrfanView as your default for. To do this, select the program in the alphabetical list on the left, then click Choose defaults for this program' below. Now click the Current Default heading and scroll down the list. You'll see that the Photos app is set as your default for most photo file formats. Tick the file formats you want to set IrfanView as your default for (.jpg, gif, .png, .raw and .tif are the most common image formats), then click Save. Repeat Steps 6 and 7 to change your defaults for all the programs and apps that don't appear within your list in the Default apps' section.

Step 8

We'll now show you how to set default actions when you connect any device (such as a mobile phone, external hard drive, SSD, CD or DVD) to your PC. Open Settings, Devices, then click AutoPlay. Ensure the AutoPlay slider is turned on. Next, click the Removable device' dropdown menu and choose what you want. We recommend Open folder to view files (File Explorer)'. Next, click the Memory card' dropdown menu and select an action. Connect your phone or tablet to your PC to see its option appear within this list. Now select what you want to do when you connect it to your PC.

Step 9

We'll now show you how to set your default printer and scanner. Ensure both devices are connected to your PC. Now open Settings, click Devices, then click Printers & scanners'. If your device isn't listed, click the Refresh button and wait for the list to update. If there's a device you no longer use, select it and click Remove device'. Now select your printer and click Set as default'. Repeat this to set your default scanner.

Step 10

Bing is the default search engine in Microsoft Edge. If you prefer using another search engine (such as Google or DuckDuckGo), you can set it as the default. Launch Edge, then open the website you want to set as your search engine. Now click the three dots at the top right, Settings at the bottom, then scroll to the bottom again and click the View advanced settings' button. Click the Change button below Bing. You'll see the website you're on in a list. Click to select it, then click Set as default'.

Featured Resources

2022 State of the multi-cloud report

What are the biggest multi-cloud motivations for decision-makers, and what are the leading challenges

Free Download

The Total Economic Impact™ of IBM robotic process automation

Cost savings and business benefits enabled by robotic process automation

Free Download

Multi-cloud data integration for data leaders

A holistic data-fabric approach to multi-cloud integration

Free Download

MLOps and trustworthy AI for data leaders

A data fabric approach to MLOps and trustworthy AI

Free Download

Recommended

How to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data
Microsoft Windows

How to reinstall Windows 10 without losing data

24 Nov 2022
17 Windows 10 problems and how to fix them
operating systems

17 Windows 10 problems and how to fix them

24 Nov 2022
Windows users now able to run Linux apps and distros natively
Microsoft Windows

Windows users now able to run Linux apps and distros natively

24 Nov 2022
Microsoft issues emergency fixes for wide-reaching Kerberos issues
Software

Microsoft issues emergency fixes for wide-reaching Kerberos issues

21 Nov 2022

Most Popular

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode
Microsoft Windows

How to boot Windows 11 in Safe Mode

15 Nov 2022
The top 12 password-cracking techniques used by hackers
Security

The top 12 password-cracking techniques used by hackers

14 Nov 2022
Ex-Twitter tech lead says platform's infrastructure can sustain engineering layoffs
Infrastructure

Ex-Twitter tech lead says platform's infrastructure can sustain engineering layoffs

23 Nov 2022