Windows 11 update copies popular Android feature - and we couldn't be happier

Windows 11 new Open With feature
(Image credit: Microsoft)

After taking it away in a previous build, Microsoft has brought back the redesign of the 'Open With' dialog box for Windows 11, letting you open files in a different app to the one you've set as default.

This new design finally removes the confusion that surrounded the message box  had since Windows 8, with dialog boxes not making it clear whether the file would open with a new default app in the future, or if it was just for that one time.

There's usually a moment when you need to play a music file in an audio editing app, instead of Windows Media Player for example. This is where the 'Open With' feature comes in, allowing a different app to open a file.

It was taken away in Insider build 22563 in April, but has made a re-appearance in Build 25151. While the Insider program allows you to test out features that aren't ready for a final release, it looks as though Microsoft is happy for this redesigned box to finally debut in Sun Valley 2, Windows 11's first major update, later this year.

Analysis: A dialog box that needed the most love

Open With old in Windows 11

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Once again, we're seeing Microsoft further tinker with parts of Windows to make it more modern and fresh for new and existing users, mainly thanks to its design features - Fluent Design and WinUI.

Already we're seeing the fruits of these efforts, with Paint and File Explorer getting new looks and useful features that users have been wanting for years. However, this is clearly expanding to certain menus and boxes, such as the 'Open With' box.

In this fresh update, we're finally going to see clearer language that has two options - 'Just Once' and 'Always'. If you've used an Android smartphone or tablet, then this may sound familiar, as Google's mobile operating system will ask you those same questions if you have several apps that can open the same type of file. It's a quick and easy way to open files in the app you want, and set default apps for certain types of files if you'd like, 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 for just that one time, without being confused. We're expecting this to arrive in Sun Valley 2, but we wouldn't be surprised to see similar redesigns appear in future builds, as we approach its release.

Via WindowsLatest

Daryl Baxter
Software & Downloads Writer

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time, he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider'. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a newsletter, 'Springboard'. He's usually found playing games old and new on his Steam Deck and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.