Default apps in Windows refer to the programs or applications that are configured to automatically open and handle specific file types on your computer. For example, when you open a document with a .docx extension, it will automatically open in Microsoft Word.
Similarly, a saved document with a .pdf extension will be opened using Adobe Reader. You can also set a default web browser, such as Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, to handle web links and web-related tasks. These default app settings streamline the user experience and make it more convenient to open files and perform various tasks on your computer.
In an organization, it’s often a good practice to configure a standard set of applications as default apps for all users. This ensures consistency and makes it easier for users to work with the expected software. Setting default apps simplifies tasks and minimizes confusion when dealing with various file types and tasks within the organization’s ecosystem.
You have two primary methods to configure default apps in Windows 10/11 for your organization. One option is to use an OMA-URI like ApplicationDefaults/DefaultAssociationsConfiguration. The other method involves applying default association configurations through a device configuration profile in the settings catalog. In this blog post, we’ll focus on how to configure default apps using a device configuration profile.
Table of Contents
Step 1 – Generate Default app Association XML
Generate a Default app association XML file from any Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC. To generate the default app association XML file, follow the below steps:
Configure Default apps on a Windows device manually
- Login on a Windows 10 or Windows 11 device.
- Manually configure the default apps that you intend to configure through Intune.
For example, I’d like to set the following default apps on the target devices:
- Email – Outlook
- Video Player – VLC
- Web Browser – Microsoft Edge
Generate App Associations XML File
To generate an App association XML file, Follow the below steps on the same device we used in Step 1 to configure default apps manually.
- Create an empty folder anywhere in your system. For example: C:\temp.
- Open the command prompt as an administrator and run below command:
Dism /Online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations:"C:\temp\AppAssociations.xml"
- Open the AppAssociations.xml file and delete all the app associations except for Microsoft Edge, VLC, and Outlook.
- You can customize the file by removing the lines you don’t need. For instance, if you don’t want to associate .pdf files with Microsoft Edge, you can delete the line with .pdf from the XML and continue.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <DefaultAssociations> <Association Identifier=".avi" ProgId="VLC.avi" ApplicationName="VLC media player" /> <Association Identifier=".wmv" ProgId="VLC.wmv" ApplicationName="VLC media player" /> <Association Identifier=".m4v" ProgId="VLC.m4v" ApplicationName="VLC media player" /> <Association Identifier=".mkv" ProgId="VLC.mkv" ApplicationName="VLC media player" /> <Association Identifier=".mov" ProgId="VLC.mov" ApplicationName="VLC media player" /> <Association Identifier=".mp2v" ProgId="VLC.mp2v" ApplicationName="VLC media player" /> <Association Identifier=".mp4" ProgId="VLC.mp4" ApplicationName="VLC media player" /> <Association Identifier=".mp4v" ProgId="VLC.mp4v" ApplicationName="VLC media player" /> <Association Identifier=".htm" ProgId="MSEdgeHTM" ApplicationName="Microsoft Edge" /> <Association Identifier=".html" ProgId="MSEdgeHTM" ApplicationName="Microsoft Edge" /> <Association Identifier=".pdf" ProgId="MSEdgeHTM" ApplicationName="Microsoft Edge" /> <Association Identifier="http" ProgId="MSEdgeHTM" ApplicationName="Microsoft Edge" /> <Association Identifier="https" ProgId="MSEdgeHTM" ApplicationName="Microsoft Edge" /> <Association Identifier="read" ProgId="MSEdgeHTM" ApplicationName="Microsoft Edge" /> <Association Identifier="mailto" ProgId="Outlook.URL.mailto.15" ApplicationName="Outlook" /> </DefaultAssociations>
Step 2 – Encode App associations XML to base64 format
Use a base64 encoder application to convert Appassociation.XML to a base64 encoded XML
- Click on base64encode link.
- Copy the contents of App associations XML file into the encoder and click on Encode button
- You will get an Output. Copy and paste the Output somewhere in notepad
Step 3 – Create a Device Configuration Profile
To create a Device Configuration Profile, Please follow below steps:
- Login on Microsoft Intune admin center
- Click on Devices -> Configuration profiles -> Create Profile
- Select Platform type as Windows 10 and later
- Select Profile type as Settings Catalog
- Click on Create
- Provide a Name and Description of the Policy
- Click on Next to Proceed
- Click on + Add settings
- Search for Application Defaults in the Settings Picker
- Check / Select Default Associations Configuration
- Close the Settings Picker
- Copy the base64 encoded value generated in previous step in the Default Associations configuration Textbox
It’s important to note that if you already have another device configuration profile with Default Associations Configuration, creating a new Default Association Configuration will result in a conflict, and the new configuration will not be applied. Ensure that only one Device Association Configuration is applied to a device.Note
Either Add all devices or an Azure AD security group containing specific devices.
Review + Create
Review the policy and click on Create to create the policy.
Now, let’s check one of the Windows 10/11 devices where we have applied this policy. You can either wait for the Intune policy refresh to complete or speed up the sync by manually initiating an Intune sync from the device itself. You can also use PowerShell to force initiate an Intune refresh cycle.
1. Confirm Default Apps association deployment from Settings App
- Go to the Settings App on the device.
- Click on Apps -> Default Apps.
- You will find that the Default Apps are configured now as per the configuration via Device configuration profile.
2. Confirm Default Apps association deployment from Intune admin center
To check if the Device Configuration Profile has been deployed successfully. Please follow below steps:
- From Microsoft Intune admin center, Click on Devices on the left hand side
- Click on Configuration Profiles
- Search for Default Apps Windows device configuration profile or whatever name you had provided at the time of creation of this policy.
- In the Overview section you can check the deployment status. You can also click on View report to find more information about the deployment status.
3. Confirm Default Association Configuration deployment from Registry
Follow below steps to Verify if Default Association setting has been applied successfully.
- Go to Start -> Type Regedit and click on Registry Editor.
- Find the Registry Key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\PolicyManager\current\device\ApplicationDefaults
- You can check an Regisry Entry on the right hand side: DefaultAssociationsConfiguration which should be now set to base64 encoded value configured via Intune.
4. Confirm Default Association Configuration deployment using Event Viewer
You can also check via Event Viewer if the Default Association Policy has been applied to this machine. Please follow the steps below to check:
- Go to Start -> Search for Event Viewer and click on it to Launch Event Viewer MMC.
- Expand Application and Services logs -> Microsoft -> Windows.
- Find DeviceManagement-Enterprise-Diagnostics-Provider folder.
- Click on Admin and Filter for Event ID 814.
- Go through the logs to find the this particular policy status.
In this blog post, we have seen how to configure default apps on windows Microsoft Intune. We have just configured VLS, Microsoft Edge and Outlook apps as default apps on the device. But you can add more default apps associations as per your requirement.
You can also use an OMA-URI setting to configure default apps but using Settings Catalog option seems a bit simpler. If you wish to use OMA-URI then you can create a Custom device configuration profile and then Add below OMA-URI Setting:
|Description||Set Default apps on windows devices|
|Value||base64 encoded output value|