Replace Notepad as default Windows 7 text editor

Microsoft’s Notepad is quick and light on resources. After that it doesn’t have much to offer. Here’s two very simple and quick methods of changing Notepad to a more robust program of your choosing.  I use Notepad++ as my default text editor and for SQL, HTML, CSS, .htaccess, quick lists & notes, opening Unix based read me files, file comparisons and much more.  Notepad++ is lightweight and fast but also very powerful and it’s free via GPL License.

Steps to set the the Default TXT file format association to Notepad++
Full conversion method here – replace notepad.exe with notepad++.exe

Method One – Notepad ++
(steps 1-2 required if User Account Control is enabled)

  1. Launch by right clicking the Notepad++ Shortcut and selecting Run As Administrator
    1. Say Yes to Do you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer
  2. Click Settings > Preferences > File Associations
  3. Highlight Notepad, highlight Text, highlight .TXT
  4. Click the arrow to register the TXT extension with Notepad ++
  5. Close Notepad++ and test opening a text file

Method Two – Windows

  1. Control Panels -> Default Programs
  2. Associate a file or Program…
  3. Hightlight .TXT in the Name Column
  4. Click Change Program
  5. Browse to: C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++  on 64bit systems
  6. Browse to: C:\Program Files \Notepad++  on 32bit systems, or on 64bit systems if Notepad++ goes 64bit
  7. Double click Notepad++
  8. Confirm Always use the selected program… is checked
  9. Click OK and test
  10. All .txt files will now open with Notepad++ (or program of your choosing)
Replace Notepad with Notepad ++
Change default text editor

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