File Associations

InstallShield 2015

Project: This information applies to the following project types:

Basic MSI
InstallScript MSI
Merge Module
MSI Database
MSM Database

File associations are registry settings that tell Windows what application to use to open files of a certain type. For example, Windows typically launches Notepad.exe when a text (.txt) file is opened.

To view and modify registered file types on your system, open Windows Explorer, and on the Tools menu, click Folder Options. Use the File Types tab of the Folder Options dialog box to see how the file associations are configured.

Similarly, you can identify the application that is associated with a given file by right-clicking the file in Windows Explorer and then clicking Properties.

File associations are stored in both HKLM\SOFTWARE\Classes and HKCU\SOFTWARE\Classes; you can see a merged view of the data under HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.

Creating File Associations for Your Installation Project

Best-practice guidelines recommend that you create a file association for every nonhidden type of file created or used by your product. You can quickly and easily create file associations for your installation project with the File Extensions view, which is available as an advanced setting within the Components view and the Setup Design view (for installation projects only). When an end user installs a feature that contains a file association, the file association is registered on the target machine; an entry is made in the appropriate part of the registry, and the entry links your file type to your application through the ProgID. The ProgID, which is sometimes called a file type’s application identifier or tag name, uniquely identifies your application and helps the operating system recognize your file association.

See Also