How to Come Directly to FILExt From Windows Vista

Note: This page is for Windows Vista. If you have Windows XP, go here instead.

Under Windows Vista 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...

  • Click on the Start Icon (the circular Windows icon in the lower left of your screen).
  • Into the search box type regedit. The single file regedit.exe should be shown and if so, press Enter to run it. If there are other programs showing, select regedit.exe and either click on it or press Enter.

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.

1) Carefully navigate to the following key value...

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Associations

...and once there the display should look something like this (without the arrows and there should only be two entries)...

Vista Regedit View

Note the value:

Application = http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=57426&Ext=%s

If you see that 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.

2) Now you want to rename the Application entry so you can put in a different one. Right click on the "Application" and select the Rename command. Hit the Home key and just type "Old" in front of the "Application" turning the entry into "OldApplication". This makes it available to you should you want to manually reverse this procedure later. The renaming effectively gives you two different backups: the REG file you created above and this renamed value.

3) Once you have your backup you can then continue. What you want to do is add a new Application value with a different URL. The value you want to enter is...

http://filext.com/detaillist.php?extdetail=%s

To do this, in the right pane right click in any blank area and select New -> String Value. When the line is added type Application into the name box. Now double click on that and a dialog will open allowing you to enter the value above. Suggest you use cut/paste to make certain you have the correct parameter for the variable (%s).

When you are done, the registry should look like the figure above.

Now, all you have to do is close the registry editor and from then on if you double click on a file Windows Vista 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.

Simple, right?

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.

 


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