How to Deploy Windows 8 Enterprise File Type Associations

Posted: August 16, 2013 in Windows 8
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So recently I discovered that certain file extensions with my Windows 8 Enterprise deployments were associated by default with the new modern/metro applications. These included .jpg .bmp etc. Now for tablet users this may not pose a problem but for a Desktop Enterprise scenario it certainly raised some eyebrows with my end users who were consistently switching between the traditional desktop applications and the new modern applications when working.

To combat this change Microsoft have introduced a new way to set and manage these file type associations. You can no longer use a VB or Batch file to script these changes in the registry due to a security hash checking process built into Windows 8. We can now use the Dism utility to generate an XML answer file which we can then deploy and manage using Group Policy.

I recommend following these steps to configure and deploy your desired associations.

1. Deploy a copy of your current Windows 8 Enterprise WIM with your chosen deployment solution. Run up Default Programs under Control Panel and look at your current file type associations. Take note of which ones you want to alter and make your changes

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2. Now we need to generate our XML file. Run an elevated command prompt and type Dism /Online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations:\\youshare\AppAssoc.xml This will output a file with all of your file types and their current associations.

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3. Edit this file to include only the file associations that you wish to change. You can elect to keep the file intact in its entirety if you wish. Optionally you may wish to make copies of the file if you have different file association requirements for different business groups in your organisation which you can target using separate Group Policies.

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4. Once you have this XML configured to your preference we can specify it in our Windows 8 Group Policy setting. Open up the Group Policy MMC on your Windows 8 environment (with RSAT installed) or Server 2012 instance and locate the policy Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\File Explorer\Set a default associations configuration file Now specify the location of where you have stored the XML file. A possible option is to use a network share, or you may want to copy/inject the file locally to the Windows 8 Enterprise build as part of a Configuration Manager Task Sequence.

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Hey presto! You now have a method of controlling and setting file associations in your organisation which is flexible enough to cater for the different scenarios you may find yourself having to manage – thanks to the Modern Desktop 🙂

Technet Reference http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh825038.aspx

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Comments
  1. DedicatedTechno says:

    I have successfully managed to do this. However, can this be done without GPO. I have tried to simply change the ProgId in

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Associations\UrlAssociations\http\UserChoice

    to point to myProgId, but with no success.

    Is there any other way in which to change the default for the http/s protocol handlers?

    Thank you!

  2. I have successfully managed to do this. However, can this be done without GPO. I have tried to simply change the ProgId in

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Associations\UrlAssociations\http\UserChoice

    to point to myProgId, but with no success.

    Is there any other way in which to change the default for the http/s protocol handlers?

    Thank you!

    • Damon Johns says:

      Hi, the only other supported method for changing file extensions in Win 8 is to import an XML file into your image using dism, you could do this to your source wim image or create a powershell script or bat file to manually run the dism command implementing your changes depending on the size of your environment. The technet article at the bottom of the blog has examples of the dism command to use. Sounds like you are trying to set the default browser? If that’s the case then you can package Firefox or Chrome and set it to be the default at the point of installation.

  3. Hi, thank you very much for the quick reply.
    What I am trying to do is to get the default application to open my application when http/https protocols are typed inside.

    I have tried to figure out what browsers such as Firefox or Chrome are writing in the registry when I change the default for http/s inside control panel. There must be another way because somehow the mentioned browsers are doing what I need to do.

    Thank you once more!

  4. I read this article completely on the topic of the difference of
    most recent and earlier technologies, it’s amazing article.

  5. Thanks so much for this, it was extremely helpful.

  6. John says:

    FYI,

    If you are trying to do this on Server 2012 make sure you are changing the LOCAL GPO and not the global as the File Explorer is not located GLOBAL GP. (As far as I know, couldn’t find it)

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