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change default programCoffee is just a name but what’s in a name? Sometimes nothing”¦just as Shakespeare meant to say. But the whole point is in the function that this free software performs. Coffee has nothing to do with the brew; it is a small utility that enables us to change the default program used to launch a file type. But here you might pause and say that this function can be performed adequately by the Open With dialog box of Windows. Rightly so, but Coffee does better as we will observe as we take the little program through its paces.

Coffee (v0.1 R3) is a file association software. That’s a kind of software you might not use generally but once you start using it, you see the whole point of it. It is also a portable application meant to be carried around in your USB drive. It is a part of the Lupo PenSuite of portable apps. Great! I don’t need to install it and muck up my registry. It can be just as easily used outside the suite as an independent application. Plus, like all portable apps 100 Portable Apps for Your USB Stick for Windows and macOS 100 Portable Apps for Your USB Stick for Windows and macOS Portable apps let you take your favorite software anywhere via a flash drive or cloud storage. Here are 100 of them to cover your every need, from games to image editors. Read More , it works just as well with all the installed programs we have on our computers.

Coffee runs from the system tray and when a file is double clicked, if it does not yet have an association for that file type, it will then display a window asking which app you wish to associate it with. This auto-associate function is on by default. It can be disabled from the preferences settings.

change default program

The five things that Coffee does for me

  1. The program allows the user to open files with a double click using applications on the USB flash drive or an iPod in the disk mode. That is, instead of the default programs on the computer, you can use your portable software (or any other app) to open the file automatically.For instance, if the default program to open a ZIP file is WinZip on the computer, I can use Coffee to set up the ZIP file to be opened with a portable version of 7-zip on my pen drive automatically instead of manually browsing and opening it. In the example scenario, it’s better for me as a user because I am more familiar with my portable 7-zip program than I am with WinZip.
  2. From a user’s point of view, these file type associations can be carried along on the pen drive. So the associations once set using Coffee can be reused across multiple computers.
  3. The other distinct advantage is that the file type associations can be reverted back to the default programs on the computer by simply pausing or switching off Coffee.

    change default program

  4. It is in the fourth function that I have found the most use for Coffee (though, it might be different for someone else). One can set another alternate application to handle a file. The alternate application can be launched to handle a specific file by pressing the ALT key while double clicking the file. For instance, I can set an image file to be opened either by Photoshop or IrfanView.

    default programs

  5. Coffee also has a Type and Run box which can be used as a shortcut launcher. Store the path of the application and set a shortcut for it. Subsequently, launch the program using just the shortcut letter from the Type and Run box.

    default programs

If any of the five quick tasks appeal to you then you will find a use for this little portable software.

Coffee (v0.1 R3) is a free 413KB software package and is compatible with Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Seven.

As a footnote, let me just try to clear up the probable reason why the free portable software is named after our midnight brew. Coffee according to its developers owes its origins to a similar app called CAFÉ (again renamed as eXpresso). Apparently, Lupo PenSuite have improved upon the original code. So far that explains all the coffee related naming and the icon of the coffee bean on the system tray!


So, is the brew strong enough for your use? Let us know.

Image credit: visualpanic / CC BY 2.0

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  1. Jeff
    January 5, 2010 at 4:14 am


    Rather than typing a really long comment can I refer you to the following forum link which explains "Coffee" is not an improvement of CAFE but rather a replication with the name changed. Further development of the real application continues under eXpresso. Here's the link:

    Take care

  2. greg
    January 4, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Good grief. Can programmers be any less creative and infantile by milking coffee-themed names to death?

  3. noone
    January 4, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Great program written in AutoHotKey. (
    But it only works within Windows Explorer.
    To get it to work with your favorite file manager such as Total Commander, find these lines in the source-file cafe.ahk:

    ; choose windows in which script will function
    GroupAdd, Interception, ahk_class ExploreWClass,,, Control panel
    GroupAdd, Interception, ahk_class Progman,,, Control panel
    GroupAdd, Interception, ahk_class CabinetWClass,,, Control panel

    And add this line:
    GroupAdd, Interception, ahk_class TTOTAL_CMD,,, Control panel

    Then compile it with Ahk2Exe.exe which comes with the standard AutoHotKey-installation.

    PS. To get the correct identifier for your file manager, such as ahk_class TTOTAL_CMD, run AU3_Spy.exe (that also comes with AutoHotKey-installation) and click on the window of your file manager.