[Fix] Can't change default app to open PDF files in Windows

Question

Issue: [Fix] Can't change default app to open PDF files in Windows

Hi. I am trying to set Acrobat as a program that opens PDF files on my Windows 11 machine. However, when I right-click on a PDF file, the only listed option is Microsoft Edge. How do I change the default app to Adobe Acrobat for PDF files?

Solved Answer

In Windows, you can set default apps for various file types, which means you decide which app opens when you click on a specific file. This can be done through the “Default apps” settings in Windows. For instance, you can choose your preferred app to open PDF files, such as Adobe Reader, Microsoft Edge, or any other PDF viewer installed on your system.

However, some users experience issues when trying to change the default app for opening PDF files. Instead of seeing a comprehensive list of installed PDF viewers, they often find only Microsoft Edge or a few other options available. This is often accompanied by the “An app default was reset” notification.

This makes it difficult to set a preferred app like Adobe Reader as the default. This problem is commonly reported after a Windows update, but it can also occur in other situations. It mostly affects devices running Windows 11.

This issue can occur due to several reasons. One common cause is the Windows update itself, which might reset some default app settings to Microsoft's own apps, like Edge. Another reason could be corrupted system files or registry entries that prevent the recognition of newly installed apps. Additionally, user account permissions or policy settings might restrict changes to default apps.

You may manually choose an app that is not mentioned by using the “Choose an app on your PC” option, which may help you fix this problem, although more troubleshooting measures are required if this does work.

To undo any changes impacting the default applications, you may need to uninstall the latest Windows update or modify the default app settings for PDF files in Windows Settings, and more. For detailed instructions, check the section below.

For dealing with various Windows errors and crashes, consider using a FortectMac Washing Machine X9 repair and maintenance utility, which is effective in resolving many system issues.

[Fix] Can't change default app to open PDF files in Windows

Fix 1. Use the “Choose another app on your PC” option

Fix it now! Fix it now!
To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.
  • Right-click on a PDF file.
  • Select Open with > Choose another program.
  • Now navigate to the following location (keep in mind that this may vary depending on your Windows and/or Adobe Acrobat version):
    C:\Program Files\Adobe\Acrobat DC\Acrobat
  • Scroll down to find Acrobat.exe (marked as an Application in the Type section).
  • Click Open and then OK.

Try "Choose the other app"

Fix 2. Kill all MSEdge.exe instances in the Task Manager

Fix it now! Fix it now!
To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.

Those who have the only option to open PDFs with Microsoft Edhe should follow these steps:

  • Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to open the Task Manager.
  • In the search bar, type Edge.
  • Right-click on every Microsoft Edge-related process and select End Task.
  • Now set the default PDF app as usual.

Kill all Edge processes

Fix 3. Update Microsoft Edge and Acrobat (or another program)

Fix it now! Fix it now!
To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.

Similarly, some people said they managed to fix the issue where the default app for PDF wouldn't change in Windows by updating associated apps, such as Edge or Acrobat.

Microsoft Edge

  • Open Microsoft Edge.
  • Click on three horizontal dots (Settings and more) at the top-right corner of the browser.
  • Select Settings.
  • Click on Help and Feedback > About Microsoft Edge on the left.
  • The browser should now automatically be updated to the latest version.

Update Edge

Adobe Acrobat Reader

  • Open Acrobat Reader.
  • Clock on the Menu at the top-left.
  • Select Help > Check for updates.
  • Wait till updates are installed.

Update Acrobat Reader

Fix 4. Select the default app for PDFs in Windows settings

Fix it now! Fix it now!
To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.
  • Right-click on Start and pick Settings.
  • Go to the Apps section.
  • Pick Default apps.
  • Here, you will find a list of apps – select the one of your choice, such as Adobe Acrobat.
  • Find the .pdf extension and click on the default app.
  • Select the app of your choice, such as Adobe Acrobat.
  • Pick your preferred app from the list and click Set default.

Check default app settings

Fix 5. Delete the PDF entry in the Windows registry

Fix it now! Fix it now!
To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.
  • Type regedit in Windows search and hit Enter.
  • When the User Account Control window shows up, click Yes.
  • Navigate to the following location:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileExts\.pdf
  • Right-click on .pdf and select Delete.
  • Close the Registry Editor and try to set the default app again.

Edit Registry

If you can't delete this entry due to the “Cannot delete .pdf: Error while deleting key” error, please follow these steps:

  • Type cmd in Windows search.
  • Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  • Agree to make changes by clicking Yes.
  • Copy and paste the following commands, pressing Enter after each:
    sc.exe config UCPD start= disabled
    schtasks.exe /change /Disable /TN “\Microsoft\Windows\AppxDeploymentClient\UCPD velocity”
  • Restart your PC and then try to delete the registry key.

Fix 6. Uninstall the most recent Windows update [workaround]

Fix it now! Fix it now!
To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect Mac Washing Machine X9.
  • Type Control Panel in Windows search and press Enter.
  • Select Programs > Uninstall a program.
  • Click on View installed updates on the left side of the window.
  • Uninstall the most recent update.
  • Proceed with on-screen instructions.
  • Don't forget to pause the update.

Uninstall Windows update

Repair your Errors automatically

ugetfix.com team is trying to do its best to help users find the best solutions for eliminating their errors. If you don't want to struggle with manual repair techniques, please use the automatic software. All recommended products have been tested and approved by our professionals. Tools that you can use to fix your error are listed bellow:

Offer
do it now!
Download Fix
  Happiness
Guarantee
do it now!
Download Fix
  Happiness
Guarantee
Compatible with Microsoft Windows Compatible with OS X
Still having problems?
If you failed to fix your error using FortectMac Washing Machine X9, reach our support team for help. Please, let us know all details that you think we should know about your problem.
Fortect - a patented specialized Windows repair program. It will diagnose your damaged PC. It will scan all System Files, DLLs and Registry Keys that have been damaged by security threats.Mac Washing Machine X9 - a patented specialized Mac OS X repair program. It will diagnose your damaged computer. It will scan all System Files and Registry Keys that have been damaged by security threats.
This patented repair process uses a database of 25 million components that can replace any damaged or missing file on user's computer.
To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Fortect malware removal tool.To repair damaged system, you have to purchase the licensed version of Mac Washing Machine X9 malware removal tool.

Access geo-restricted video content with a VPN

Private Internet Access is a VPN that can prevent your Internet Service Provider, the government, and third-parties from tracking your online and allow you to stay completely anonymous. The software provides dedicated servers for torrenting and streaming, ensuring optimal performance and not slowing you down. You can also bypass geo-restrictions and view such services as Netflix, BBC, Disney+, and other popular streaming services without limitations, regardless of where you are.

Don’t pay ransomware authors – use alternative data recovery options

Malware attacks, particularly ransomware, are by far the biggest danger to your pictures, videos, work, or school files. Since cybercriminals use a robust encryption algorithm to lock data, it can no longer be used until a ransom in bitcoin is paid. Instead of paying hackers, you should first try to use alternative recovery methods that could help you to retrieve at least some portion of the lost data. Otherwise, you could also lose your money, along with the files. One of the best tools that could restore at least some of the encrypted files –  Data Recovery Pro.

About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate computer expert

Gabriel E. Hall is an expert troubleshooter who has been working in the information technology industry for years.

Contact Gabriel E. Hall
About the company Esolutions

What you can add more about the problem: "[Fix] Can't change default app to open PDF files in Windows"