How to fix this file doesn’t have an app associated with it for performing this action in Windows 10


Imagine you’re in a rush to open an important document or a cherished photo, and you encounter an error message that reads, “This file doesn’t have an app associated with it for performing this action.” Frustrating, right? This is a common issue faced by Windows 10 users, and it can disrupt your workflow or hinder your ability to enjoy media files. In this article, we’ll delve into this problem, exploring its possible causes and providing comprehensive solutions.

We’ll start by discussing real-life scenarios where this error might occur, highlighting its relevance and urgency. Then, we’ll examine the various reasons behind this issue, including common error codes with examples. After that, we’ll guide you through multiple methods to fix the problem, both automatically and manually. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to tackle this error effectively.

Real-Life Scenario

Let’s set the stage with a relatable scenario. You’re preparing a presentation for an important meeting scheduled in a few minutes. As you try to open the presentation file, a notification pops up on your Windows 10 computer screen: “This file doesn’t have an app associated with it for performing this action.” Panic sets in, and you scramble to find a solution. Your deadline is looming, and you can’t afford any delays.

This scenario highlights the real-world significance of this error. Whether you’re a student trying to access lecture notes, a professional working on a critical project, or a casual user attempting to view photos, encountering this error can be both frustrating and time-consuming.

Possible Reasons for the Issue

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s crucial to understand why this error occurs. Several factors could be contributing to the problem:

  1. Missing or Corrupted File Associations: When Windows doesn’t know which application to use to open a particular file type, it throws this error.
  2. Changes in Default Apps: If you’ve recently changed your default app settings, it might conflict with certain file types.
  3. Malware or Virus Infections: Malicious software can tamper with your file associations, leading to this issue.
  4. System Updates: Sometimes, Windows updates can cause conflicts with existing file associations.
  5. Registry Errors: Corrupted registry entries can disrupt the proper functioning of file associations.
  6. File Type Not Supported: It’s possible that the file type you’re trying to open isn’t supported by any installed applications.
  7. Third-Party Software: Some third-party applications might interfere with default file associations.

Common Error Codes and Examples

To diagnose and fix the issue effectively, it’s helpful to understand the error codes that may accompany the message. Here are some common error codes you might encounter:

  1. 0x80070002: This error code typically indicates that the file association registry key is missing or corrupt.
  2. 0x80004002: It suggests a problem with the default program assigned to open the file type.
  3. 0xc0000005: This error code can occur due to issues with file associations or corrupted system files.
  4. 0xc0000142: It often points to problems with the application used to open the file.

Let’s illustrate these error codes with examples:

Error 0x80070002: You attempt to open a .jpg image, but Windows can’t find the appropriate program to display it, resulting in this error.

Error 0x80004002: You try to open a .pdf document, but the associated PDF reader is malfunctioning, causing this error.

Error 0xc0000005: While launching a game, you encounter this error due to conflicts in file associations related to the game’s executable file.

Error 0xc0000142: When starting a video editing software, you receive this error, indicating issues with the program’s association with video files.

Different Ways to Fix the Error

Now, let’s explore various methods to resolve the “This file doesn’t have an app associated with it” error:

1. Automatic File Association Fix

  • Windows 10 offers a built-in tool to automatically fix file associations.
  • To use this tool, open the “Settings” app, navigate to “Apps” > “Default apps,” and scroll down to find the “Choose default apps by file type” link. Click it.
  • Windows will attempt to identify and fix any problematic file associations.

2. Resetting Default Apps

  • Go to “Settings” > “Apps” > “Default apps.”
  • Scroll down and click “Reset” under the “Reset to the Microsoft recommended defaults” section.
  • This restores default file associations for common file types.

3. Reinstalling Problematic Apps

  • If the error is specific to certain apps, try reinstalling them.
  • Uninstall the app, download it from a trusted source, and reinstall it.

4. Check for Malware

  • Run a full system scan using your preferred antivirus software to ensure your system is clean from malware.

5. Manual File Association

  • Right-click the problematic file and select “Open with” > “Choose another app.”
  • Choose an appropriate app from the list, and make sure to check “Always use this app to open .[file extension] files.”

6. Edit Registry Entries

  • Caution: Editing the Windows Registry can be risky. Backup your registry before proceeding.
  • Press Win + R, type “regedit,” and press Enter.
  • Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.extension (replace .extension with the specific file extension).
  • Delete the “UserChoice” key if it exists, and close the Registry Editor.


Encountering the “This file doesn’t have an app associated with it for performing this action” error can be frustrating, but it’s a solvable issue. By understanding the potential causes, error codes, and employing the various methods outlined in this article, you can regain control over your file associations in Windows 10.

Remember to approach these solutions with caution, especially when dealing with the Windows Registry. In most cases, the automatic and manual methods mentioned should help you resolve this issue and ensure a smoother computing experience.


Q1. Is it safe to edit the Windows Registry? A1. Editing the Windows Registry can be risky. It’s essential to proceed with caution and back up your registry before making any changes. Incorrect modifications to the registry can lead to system instability.

Q2. Why did this error suddenly appear on my computer? A2. The error can appear due to various reasons, including changes in default apps, system updates, malware infections, or corrupted file associations. It may seem sudden, but it often results from changes or issues within your system.

Q3. Can I prevent this error from happening in the future? A3. Regularly updating your software, using reliable antivirus software, and being cautious when changing default apps can help prevent this error from occurring frequently.

Q4. What do I do if none of the methods mentioned in the article work? A4. If none of the methods resolve the issue, consider seeking help from a professional or your device manufacturer’s support. It could be a more complex underlying problem that requires expert assistance.

Sakshi Anant Author