Opening with Microsoft Office 2010 by Default

I recently came across Microsoft Office’s upgrade offer ( and decided to take advantage of it.  I had been running Office 2003 (the last pre-ribbon version) for nearly a decade now so I bought a copy of Office 2010 and went through the steps to get a free copy of Office 2013.  I had been using Office 2010 at a university and because of that I found Office 2013 pretty different.  The way it looks takes getting used to.  I prefer the more colorful and “textured” 2010 version.

While it might be possible to tweak it in settings, I figured I would just make Office 2010 the default program for now since I really don’t need any 2013-specific features.  Unfortunately, the old trick of right-clicking on a file and using “Open with” and “Choose default program..” didn’t work.  It stubbornly kept Office 2013 as the default.  After a few minutes of searching, I came across an article called How to make Microsoft Word 2013 the default program even if Microsoft Word 2010 is also installedthat talked about something similar.  He had the reverse problem.  I am running Windows 7 (as opposed to his Windows 8) but I found the registry key he mentioned in exactly the same place.  It was already there so I didn’t need to add it.

The key the fix for me was going to Control Panel –> Programs and Features –> Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 and clicking “Change” then “Repair”.  It completed after a few minutes (no disc needed) and told me I would need to restart to complete the process.  I opted to restart later but discovered the fix worked anyway.  Now when I double click a Word or Power Point file, it opens in 2010 by default.  The icons on the desktop and in Windows Explorer also reflect the change.

It’s unfortunate Microsoft didn’t make the “Choose default program” work like it was supposed to for Office but at least the fix is an easy one.