After removing it in an earlier version, Microsoft brought back the redesign of the ‘Open With’ dialog box for Windows 11, allowing you to open files in an app other than the one you set as the default.
This new design finally removes the confusion surrounding the message box since Windows 8, with dialog boxes not making it clear whether the file would open with a new default application in the future or if it was just for that one time.
There is often a time when you need to play a music file in an audio editing application rather than Windows Media Player, for example. This is where the ‘Open With’ feature comes in, allowing a different application to open a file.
was taken in Insider build 22563 (opens in new tab) in April, but reappeared in Build 25151 (opens in new tab). While the Insider program lets you test features that aren’t ready for a final release, it seems Microsoft is happy that this redesigned box is finally making its debut in Sun Valley 2, the first major update to Windows 11, later this year.
Analysis: A dialog that needed more love
Once again, we’re seeing Microsoft tinkering with parts of Windows even more to make it more modern and fresh for new and existing users, mostly thanks to its design features – Fluent Design and WinUI.
We’re already seeing the fruits of those efforts, with Paint and File Explorer getting new looks and useful features that users have wanted for years. However, this is clearly expanding to certain menus and boxes, such as the ‘Open With’ box.
In this new update we will finally see clearer language with two options – ‘Only once’ and ‘Always’. If you’ve used an Android smartphone or tablet, this might sound familiar as Google’s mobile operating system will ask the same questions if you have multiple apps that can open the same file type. It’s a quick and easy way to open files in the app you want and set default apps for certain file types if you want, and we’d like to see something similar in Windows 11.
This will help users who just want to open files in a different app just once without getting confused. We expect this to make it to Sun Valley 2, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see similar redesigns appear in future releases as we get closer to its release.
Through WindowsLast (opens in new tab)