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The Net Takeaway: Nero steals file associations


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Nero steals file associations · 12/15/2007 01:57 AM, Tech

There are few things I hate more than programs which, when installed, take over all your file associations. That is, they make themselves the default programs when you double click on a file. This was really a mess a few years ago as programs fought over who got to own, say, the streaming video associations (RealPlayer was especially nasty at that time). Then people got better about it, allowing you to choose at install what extensions you wanted associated with the program.

And Nero 8 does this, at install. There are over 30 file types it thinks it should own, and it makes you click, one by one, on each of the ones you don’t want it to clobber. And if, by patience, you de-select all these, Nero will respect your wishes…

Til you update. Yep, that magic autoupdating feature, which downloads all the upgraded and updated versions of their different programs, basically re-runs the installer script in the background, only it completely ignores any settings from the first time. All file extensions from the first list get clobbered by Nero, and even if you didn’t install some features, well, too bad, because Nero downloads and installs them anyway.

I’ve included the list below of the ones that got taken over on my box, and put what I think was the original default in Windows XP. With this list and about 15-20 minutes, I was able to reset most of the options. Some I have no idea about, so they stay with Nero’s viewer (which, btw, takes a full (count it) 15-20 seconds to load every time on a P3D running at 3gigahertz on 2gb of ram, WinXP).

Nero is constantly held up as a gold standard for burning, basic video editing, etc. Yet it doesn’t include an ISO editor like Iso Commander, MagicIso, or WinISO. It is slow and appears to just hang at various times. If this is the best out there, we are all in trouble. And if you touch my file extensions again, you will lose yet another customer. Companies making software which is often pirated shouldn’t piss off those who are willing to pay for it. gives a good list of simple registry fixes to reset many extensions, though not all on the below list. Also, I actually don’t have a favorite picture viewer or editor (though I tend to use Irfanview at times, and for editing, either the free or the free older but still great Serif Photoplus) so I put them all back to the Windows Pic and Fax Viewer, til I settle on a favorite.

Associations to fix:
3gp = Quicktime
aac = Quicktime
ac3 = ? (depending on codec, WMP, Quicktime, Winamp):
aif = WMP
aiff = WMP
avi = WMP
avs = avisynth files,
bmp = Windows Pic and Fax Viewer
divx = Divx Player
flv = ? (Per comments below thisis the Flash Video format, but need a dedicated Flash Player for this (or IE))
gif = Windows Pic and Fax Viewer
ico = ? (Per comments below, this is a Windows Icon format, so your favorite bitmap/photoviewer will work)
jpe = Windows Pic and Fax Viewer
jpeg = Windows Pic and Fax Viewer
jpg = Windows Pic and Fax Viewer
m3u = WMP (Playlist)
mid = wmp
midi = wmp
mov = quicktime
mp3 = wmp
mp4 (should be quicktime)?
mpe = wmp
mpeg = wmp
mpg = wmp
nrg= ? (Per comments below, this is a Nero proprietary, so it probably stays with Nero and shouldn’t be in this list)
ogg (winamp?)
pcx (mspaint?) quicktime picture viewer?
pls (Realplayer)? Winamp Playlist files?
png = Windows pic and fax viewers
rmi (realplayer) or WMP
tif = This can be an MS Office Viewer, or just Windows Pic and Fax Viewer
tiff = This can be an MS Office Viewer, or just Windows Pic and Fax Viewer
vob = PowerDVD, or whatever instead of Nero Showtime
wav = WMP
wave = WMP
wbm ?
wma = WMP
wmf = windows picture and fax viewr
wmv = wmp

BTW, in making my DVD with Nero Vision 5 (part of Nero Ultimate 8), I was surprised to see only 3 total DVD menu templates, while the screenshot in the manual (yes, I RTFM) shows lots more. Turns out that the install somehow only loads a few defaults (Orbit, Lemon, and 1 Smart 3D). Instead, go to the Nero 8 Template Packs for additional menus, some designed for HD and the rest for regular DVDs. None of them are great, but at least now you have some variety in the DVD menus you can use.

Nero 7 owners can go to

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  1. Hi Wex,
    flv = Adobe flash video file (e.g YouTube video files), best download a bespoke FLV player if you have any of these files.

    ico = icon file, just remap to any bitmap editing program – Irfanview

    nrg= is a propriety Nero format. Basically, their version of an .iso, you’re stuck with Nero there I’m afraid

    You’ve got it right with ogg and mp4, IMHO. Hope it helps


    Ray    Dec 17, 07:30 AM    #

  2. From,103781-page,3-c,tipstroubleshooting/article.html
    In any case, it’s best to make a separate backup of all your associations before disaster strikes. To do this, select Start, Run, type regedit, and press Enter. Navigate the Registry Editor’s left pane to My Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Classes. Choose Registry, Export Registry File ( File, Export in Windows XP). Name the file associations, and save it to My Documents.

    Also a PCMag util to manage, lock, and backup associations:,2704,1639076,00.asp


    Darren    Dec 19, 04:50 PM    #

  3. Thank you for this entry. You are a gentleman and a scholar.

    Jamouse    Jul 1, 03:33 PM    #

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