How to Come Directly to FILExt From Windows XP
Note: This page is for Windows XP. If you have Windows Vista, go here instead.
Under Windows XP if you click on a file which Windows has no program association for you will be asked if you wish to find a program on your local computer or search the Internet. If you choose to search the Internet you are taken to a Microsoft page that directs you to a Windows Live search where you might find FILExt in the search results. Assuming the search contains the proper FILExt database page you finally come to the FILExt for that file extension.
How would you like to instead come directly to FILExt at the correct database page when you click on the Internet option? With a little registry tweaking you can.
[Note: If you don't want to play with the registry yourself stop here and go here. The FILExt Direct system helps you set the registry to make coming to FILExt easier and is described on the linked page.]
OK, if you want to continue, here's how...
First open the registry editor...
The registry editor will open. In the left pane you will find navigation information and in the right pane you will see data for various items in the registry. Moving through the registry is just like moving through a directory tree: double click on the item you wish to open and the items under it will display.
Carefully navigate to the following key value...
...and once there the display should look something like this...
Note the three values:
If you see the same thing that shows above then you have the default installation and can proceed. If there is something different there STOP now and just close the registry editor. It is not safe to continue as your configuration has not been tested.
If you're good to go then the first thing you should do is make a backup of this particular registry key. Right click on the Associations label in the left pane. One of the options should be Export. Choose that option. You will be asked for a file name for the exported information. Pick a descriptive name (I used Explorer_Associations_Registry_Saved_State.reg saved in the My Documents directory but you can use any descriptive name you wish with the .REG extension that the editor appends for you). If you want to verify that the file was correctly written open it in any text editor and make certain that the key value is there along with the values for the three entries.
Once you have your backup you can then continue. What you want to do is replace the URLs in the values with a different URL; all the same. The value you want to enter into each location is...
To do this, in the right pane double click on each name (Application, intl, and XMLLookup) in turn. A dialog will open with the current value highlighted. Replace this value with the one above. Suggest you use cut/paste to make certain you have the correct parameters for the variables (%04x and %s).
When you are done, the registry should look like this...
Now, all you have to do is close the registry editor and from then on if you double click on a file Windows XP has no association for and then select the search the Internet option you should be taken directly to the FILExt site to the specific database display page for the extension you clicked on.
Well, it can be a bit easier. If, after verifying the three shell.windows.com entries above and making the registry key backup using export, you don't want to take a chance on editing the entries FILExt has prepared a .REG file for you to use to make the changes automatically. Download the file FILExt_Registry_Association.reg and save it to your desktop or some other location where you know where it is. Then, just double click on that file and the registry changes will be made for you. Don't do this until you've made the appropriate backup as described above.
Should you ever need to or want to recover to your original registry state for this key just double click on the exported .REG file that you made and the key will be put back to its default state.
Now that you know, remember, if you don't want to play with the registry yourself at all go here. The FILExt Direct system helps you set the registry to make coming to FILExt easier and is described on the linked page.