How to Set Apps to Open in the Desktop in Windows 8.1

Here’s how to set apps to open in the Desktop in Windows 8.1 and use the interface that’s best for your needs.

Most people consider the Start Screen and Desktop areas of Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 operating system to be completely separate operating systems even if they really aren’t. To be clear, both are very distinctive and include features that the other doesn’t. The Start Screen and its apps integrate with the new universal Search, Share and Settings Charms. These apps can be used with a mouse and keyboard but are considered by many to be inappropriate when using a mouse and keyboard. On the other hand, Desktop apps are less secure and typically don’t integrate with each other well. They also have smaller interfaces that mouse and keyboard users are likely to find more useful.

By default Windows 8, and the Windows 8.1 update that’s available to users for free, open apps in whatever app that’s been rated to handle that particular file. For example, music and video files will open in the Start Screen’s Music and Video apps.

Go to the Start Screen by pressing the Windows key on your notebook or desktop’s keyboard. Tablet and convertible users can press the Windows button beneath their devices display.

How to Set Apps to Open in the Desktop in Windows 8 (1)

Place the mouse pointer in the top-right corner of your devices display to open the Charms Bar and click on Search. Tablet users should place their finger on the right edge of the display and drag their finger a bit further left then tap on Search.

How to Set Apps to Open in the Desktop in Windows 8 (2)

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In the search bar type Default apps.

How to Set Apps to Open in the Desktop in Windows 8 (3)

Now select the default program for each of the tasks listed. Tapping or clicking on each individual option will open a list of other options for you to choose from. In order for an app to be set as the default it first needs to be installed on your device. For example, Chrome can only be set as the default web browser after you’ve installed it from Google’s website.

How to Set Apps to Open in the Desktop in Windows 8 (4)

Our testing didn’t show that default apps settings sync so users with more than one Windows 8.1 device will have to make any changes on every device they own.

Read: 26 Awesome Features in Windows 8.1

Users without Windows 8.1 shouldn’t fret. Microsoft makes the update available to users for free as a download through the Windows Store. Just head there to download the update and then pickup with this how-to after the installation has finished.

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