Microsoft Broke Windows 10 Again, Despite Warnings From Windows Insiders
Well folks, I'm running out of ways to cleverly introduce the fact that your current build of Windows 10 may have another nasty bug. While it's not as severe as having your documents wiped out of existence, it can still be classified as very irritating for users. That's because the bug in question breaks file associations, preventing certain file types from opening with the default programs you choose. For example, not being able to associate Adobe Photoshop with image files, Notepad++ with text files or VLC with .mp4 files.
This was brought to my attention courtesy of Chris Hoffman at How-To Geek, but after a bit of research it seems this issue has been lurking for quite some time. Check this out:
"This is a known bug and has almost certainly been reported in the Feedback Hub, so Microsoft should be aware and working on a fix. The next regular monthly cumulative update is expected on Tuesday 12 June, so I'd expect the fix then." ~via TenForums, May 2018.
That forum post was from May 2018, and like other serious unzapped bugs, it has been reported in the Feedback Hub multiple times according to Bleeping Computer. But here we are in November, and the issue persists. In fact, it's been around in various forms since 2015. Yes, 2015.
It seems to be somewhat erratic, but in general users find that:
-Default app preferences aren't saved when choosing "Open With" and enabling "Always use this app"
-They can't choose defaults by app
-They can't choose defaults by file type
Here's a small sampling of complaints from the Windows 10 subreddit:
"Running W10 1803 on 2 different PCs that have both developed the same problem - the "open with" menu that lets you change file associations doesn't do anything anymore." ~via Reddit
"[...] all i want is to make mp3 files open with the media player of my choice and not windows media player PS: The account i'm in has administrative rights. And i have formatted my PC completely to try and solve this problem, yet it persisted." ~via Reddit
"When trying to open .mkv and .mp4 files with MPC-HC it doesn't remember it as the default application. Instead it always opens in the default Windows 10 video player. I've googled this and found people offering solutions of changing the setting in the file association panel, and changing registry settings... nothing is working. This is the second install of Windows 10 I'm seeing this on, and this is a fresh install as of last night." ~via Reddit
How-To Geek states that it doesn't appear to be an issue in Windows 10 machines running version 1809 -- the version that was historically pulled due to so many show-stopping bugs (Microsoft has yet to reissue this cumulative update originally scheduled for October). However, I've found multiple complaints from users running version 1809:
"I've been having this issue for quite some time now. I'm not able to assign certain file types to certain programs. This is happening in 1809, decided to rollback (through clean format) to 1803 and I still have the issue. Thinking of going back to 1709 to get rid of it.
Right click on file --> Properties --> Change - doesn't work.
Setting app --> Apps --> Default Apps --> Choose default apps by protocol - doesn't work.
I would have already switched to Linux if it wasn't for gaming." ~via Reddit"
"I have this on LTSC 2019 so it's totally in the October update too. There've been several posts about the bug being present in 1809, I guess now they've backported it to earlier versions. Enjoy, lol." ~via Reddit
It appears a registry-based workaround is available, but it's not for the average Windows 10 user and it's hardly a solution. You'd need to execute this for every file type association you want fixed.
This has been an incredibly poor year for Microsoft's Windows 10 operating system, whether it's invasive annoyances or system-breaking bugs. Despite the efforts of its millions of Windows Insiders, updates only seem to make things worse -- and you know, it's simply not normal for so many Windows-focused tech sites to advise people on how to delay or avoid Windows Updates.
On an unrelated note, if you're running Windows 10 Pro, you might want to check if you've been downgraded to Windows 10 Home. . .
And all I can say to people constantly frustrated with Windows 10 is this: I've been using Ubuntu Linux for 5 months now and haven't even had a minor headache. Is it perfect? No. Is it exponentially more reliable and stable? Absolutely. I've been enjoying my PCs again, and I'm going to keep beating this drum because I have low confidence that Windows 10 will be improving anytime soon.
UPDATE: A Microsoft spokesperson says this bug is a known issue caused by KB4464330 (OS Build 17763.55. Microsoft is working on a resolution and estimates a solution will be available in late November 2018.