Unretarding Edit in Vista or Windows 7

In XP it was possible to change which program ran when you chose Edit from the right-click context menu for a particular file, say a jpeg.  In Vista and Windows 7 they have merged that setting with the Open function.  In other words, in XP you could set one application to open a jpeg and a different application to edit a jpeg.  In Vista and Windows 7 if you want to have different applications perform these functions, you have to dig into the registry.

Sure, you can use Open With instead of Open to get to the other application; but, oh wait, Open With only works if you select one file.  What?  That’s right, select two jpeg’s and Open With goes away.

Really, what the fuck is the point of offering Edit and Open as separate options if they both do the exact same thing?


It is easy to arrange this on the Mac OS; it is easy to do in Ubuntu; it was easy to do in XP.  This is what happens when you work towards a Fisher-Price operating system designed for children and the geriatric: it slows the rest of us to a crawl.

Ok, so how do we fix this marvelous error and once again improve the disimprovement Microsoft has handed down from on high?

Obviously we need to hop into the registry editor:

Run —> regedit

Once in the registry editor (as an administrator, so don’t try this as a limited user), you will want to change two registry keys.  Here are the paths/names of those keys:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT —> SystemFileAssociations —> image —> shell —> edit —> command

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT —> jpegfile —> shell —> edit —> command

I think my SystemFileAssociations key originally pointed to Paint and the jpegfile key pointed here:

%SystemRoot%System32rundll32.exe “%ProgramFiles%Windows Photo GalleryPhotoViewer.dll”, ImageView_Edit %1

But I replaced them both with the path below.  Once you find each key, change the contents of that key (either double-click the key or right-click and choose Modify…) to something which will open your preferred editor (I use Photoshop CS3 currently).  Basically it’s “DRIVE:PathTo Your Editor’sexecutable.exe” “%1” so something like this:

"C:Program Files (x86)AdobeAdobe Photoshop CS3Photoshop.exe" "%1"

Click the OK button after each change and then hit your f5 key to refresh the registry (or just close it).  Now you ought to be able to Edit images with a different application than one with which you Open them.

Happy hunting.


One thought on “Unretarding Edit in Vista or Windows 7

  1. On a related note, I use Thumbs+ as my photo management software. I have managed to add Photoshop to the Thumbs+ right-click menu (when viewing thumbnails).

    Options —> Customize… —> Toolbar —> External Program…

    Browse to your PS executable and you’re done. Ok your way out.

    This adds PS to Open With; I have not yet figured out how to make Thumbs+ send the file to PS when you choose Edit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *