How to Change Default Apps and Settings in Windows 10
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Right from the time you sign into Windows 10, Microsoft keeps pushing its other services on you, like requiring a Microsoft Live account to log in. Then there is Bing search baked into the operating system (OS), OneDrive cloud storage is chugging in the background, and the new Edge browser is your default gateway to the Internet. It might please you to know you can change all that to services you like more.

Unfortunately, not everything Microsoft-made thing can be completely replaced. For example, Mark has written a detailed guide on how to remove OneDrive completely from Windows 10 How to Disable & Replace OneDrive in Windows 10 How to Disable & Replace OneDrive in Windows 10 OneDrive is deeply integrated in Windows 10 and Microsoft might tell you that removing it is not possible. Well, not unless you're willing to dig deep. We show you how to extract OneDrive from Windows... Read More , but you can’t replace it with Google Drive or Dropbox. You can install those apps, of course, but you won’t get the same kind of tight integration with the operating system.

That said, if you want to change the default settings How to Control Windows 10: The Settings Guide How to Control Windows 10: The Settings Guide The Windows control panel is on its way out. Its replacement, the Settings app, has received a significant upgrade in Windows 10. We'll reveal all its secrets for you. Read More and grow less dependent on Microsoft, read on.

Sign Into Windows 10 Without a Microsoft Account

You can first choose to use Windows 10 without a Microsoft Account when you set up the operating system for the first time. During setup, whenever you are prompted to sign in with your Microsoft account, scroll to the bottom of the screen to find small options to Skip this step or Sign in without a Microsoft account and choose those every time.


If you’ve already set up Windows with a Microsoft account 5 Tips for Managing Windows User Accounts Like a Pro 5 Tips for Managing Windows User Accounts Like a Pro Windows user accounts have evolved from isolated local accounts to online accounts with various privacy challenges. We help you sort out your accounts and find the settings that work for you. Read More , you can still undo that. Here’s how:

  1. Make sure you are signed in as an Administrator.
  2. Save and back up all your information. Windows will erase some data and personal settings, so backing up critical data is an important step.
  3. Go to Start > Settings > Accounts > Your account (or use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + I and choose System).
  4. Click Sign in with a local account instead.
  5. Follow the steps to set up a local account. Sign out, reboot.
  6. Log in with your local account, go back to Start > Settings > Accounts > Your accounts.
  7. Scroll down to find your old Microsoft account in Other accounts you use.
  8. Click it, and click Remove.

Remember, there are some security tips to consider if you’re using a Microsoft account 5 Security Tips to Consider When Using a Microsoft Account 5 Security Tips to Consider When Using a Microsoft Account You can't use much of the new Windows 8 user interface without a Microsoft account. The account you for logging into into your computer is now an online account. This raises security concerns. Read More . Instead of a Microsoft account, you can use a local account which is not connected to Microsoft’s web services in any way. In fact, every time you start core apps like Mail and Edge, you will be asked for a Microsoft account, but you can use the apps without that. As mentioned earlier, scroll down and click an option that says Sign in to each app separately instead.

However, you will need to use your Microsoft Account for two things: Cortana the voice-activated assistant How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's greatest productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with Windows 10's digital assistant or how to turn Cortana off for improved privacy. Read More , and the Windows Store to download apps.

How to Replace or Change Your Default Apps

Our big list of the best Windows software The Best Windows Software The Best Windows Software Windows is swimming in a sea of free applications. Which ones can you trust and which ones are the best? If you're unsure or need to solve a specific task, consult this list. Read More  will give you a good idea of which programs should be installed on your computer. But just because you installed one doesn’t mean Microsoft will turn it into the default app for a certain type of file. For example, if you would like Firefox to be your default browser or prefer to use IrfanView as your default image viewer and editor, here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to Start > Settings > System (or use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + I and choose System).
  2. Click Default apps in the pane on the left.
  3. You can set defaults for certain types of files right here, like photos, music, videos, documents, and so on.

Windows 10 Default Apps

The app you want to set as Default should ideally already be installed on your computer, but if it isn’t, you can find apps directly in the Windows Store.

Scroll down in that list and you will get advanced controls to set apps as default based on the file type, or check an app’s settings to find which file types it opens by default. Set defaults by app still leads you to the Control Panel Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified Unlock Windows Potential: Control Panel Demystified If you want to be the master of your Windows experience, the Control Panel is where it's at. We untangle the complexity of this power tool. Read More , which will eventually be retired. These options offer granular control over every single file type and protocol, so do this only if you know what you’re doing.

How to Change Your AutoPlay Defaults

Does your PC automatically open the folder when you plug in a USB drive? Does it auto-play a DVD as soon as it’s popped in? Well, you can change all that behavior and much more. This is called AutoPlay, and Windows 10 lets you customize it to your heart’s content. Here’s the easy option:

  1. Go to Start > SettingsDevices (or use the keyboard short Windows key + I and choose Devices).
  2. Click AutoPlay in the pane on the left.
  3. Choose the default action when a removable drive is plugged in.
  4. Choose the default action when a memory card is plugged in.

Note the shortcut to changing Default app settings at the bottom.

Windows 10 AutoPlay Settings

However, you can get much more control over your autoplay settings through the Control Panel, if you so desire. Right-click Start button, open Control Panel, and go to Programs > Default Programs > Change AutoPlay Settings.

Here, you can choose default actions for each type of file on a removable drive (like photos, music, video, and such), for each type of DVD, CD, and Blu-Ray disc you insert, as well as other types of devices you connect. Like with default apps, you get much better, specific control over elements here, so make sure you know what you’re doing.

Windows 10 AutoPlay Control Panel

If nothing else, you should definitely change what Windows does for pen drives How To Prevent A USB Drive From Running Anything Automatically In Windows How To Prevent A USB Drive From Running Anything Automatically In Windows Read More , since auto-running files from pen drives is one of the easiest ways to get a malware infection.

How to Replace Bing with Google Search

Microsoft has baked the ability to search the Internet directly into your Taskbar in Windows 10. You can click the text space where it says Search the web and Windows or simply hit the Windows key, start typing your search query, and hit Enter to find what you want. But that uses Edge and Bing by default. While Edge is pretty great 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Edge Now 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Microsoft Edge Now Microsoft Edge marks a complete break from the Internet Explorer brand name, killing off a 20-year-old family tree in the process. Here's why you should be using it. Read More , if you prefer Chrome and the Google search engine, you’re in luck.


Bing2Google is a new extension that takes any search query from the Windows search bar, meant to search Bing, and redirects it to Google! But you’ll need Chrome to use it.

  1. Install Google Chrome for Windows.
  2. Download and install Bing2Google for Chrome.
  3. Type any search query in the Search the web and Windows box in your Taskbar (or press the Windows key and start typing), then hit Enter.
  4. If you’re prompted with How do you want to open this?, choose Google Chrome in the other options, check Always use this app, and click OK.

You don’t really need any further explanation on how to use this extension, install it and have fun.

What Other Defaults Do You Want to Change?

I’m sure this isn’t the full list of every default setting Windows 10 has thrown at you. If you have other pain points, shout out in the comments and we will try to help you out.

Are there any Windows 10 default settings that you actually appreciate? We’d love to hear about those, too!

Explore more about: User Account Control, Windows 10.

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  1. Jim
    January 29, 2018 at 5:35 am

    COMPAQ CQ60 - WIFI switch stopped working - switch ON & it immediately bounced back to OFF. Took it to a Tech & when I got it back it occasionally switched OFF but when I went to WIFI there was a drop down box which gave the choice MANUAL - magic! Select it & switch ON & it works. How do I put thatswitch in my desktop Win 10 Pro ?

  2. Eric
    October 10, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    I would like to have two profiles (office and home) that both access multiple monitors, and I want to configure which app windows are shown on which screen. The default (use the former screen) does not work when changing from one monitor constellation to the other, since the former screen is not present anymore.
    Do you have any ideas where I can set this? Thanks!

  3. Deano
    August 13, 2017 at 12:35 am

    I just want to return a file association back to it's original unknown state. Everything I have read is about changing the default app to another but not how to return to the original nothing state.
    I have a .jsf file appear on my desktop, so I opened it using "NOTE PAD" to see the contents to try to determine the file's origin and purpose, I did't need to use the appropriate app to do this, so I'm not at all concerned with that, However, when using note, for some mongrel reason, as I have experienced before, the "use this app as the default program" check button is pre-selected and because I'm in a hurry and it goes un-noticed, I change the default prog for opening .jsf files to "NOTE". How on earth is this rectified? I wish there were a 'let me choose" option somewhere in the list of program options. But there is not...... So if you can help, I would be very appreciative to hear any recommendations. Thanks

  4. anudeep
    July 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    when you open my computer quick access tab will come how can we change to default as this pc

  5. Barry Balderson
    March 2, 2017 at 5:17 am

    When I look at the options in Settings --- System --- Default apps --- Photo viewer, I see PictureViewer by Quicktime. I would like to change that (or add another option) to an app I have loaded onto the PC --- ViewNX2 by Nikon. This app shows up in Apps & Features, but I can't figure out how to make it my default Photo viewer.

  6. Barry
    March 2, 2017 at 5:12 am

    When I look at the default apps options in Settings --- System --- Photo Viewer, I see PictureViewer by Quicktime. I would like to change this to an app I have installed --- ViewNX2 by Nikon. How can I make this an option?

  7. Khalid Hossain
    February 9, 2017 at 6:57 am

    Hi Brad,

    BIG Thank from Me (y).

    It's really helpful and working too..

    Khalid Hossain

  8. amy
    February 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    Within the photo folder, the photos are automatically sorted into subfolders by dates, which I don't want. How can I remove the automatic date sorting?

  9. asdfasdf
    January 29, 2016 at 8:23 pm

    Uninstalling an App then logging in as a new user, frustratingly, pops that app right back in. It's not really removed, it's very annoying when trying to setup a new computer for a corporate user with Office licensing agreements to keep seeing Office 365 (worthless crap software, by the way) popping up with every new user. No one computer will EVER have a single user in our company, this is trash coding at its best (worst).