IT Consultant Everyday Notes

Just some problems/solutions storage

SCCM: Windows 10 changes Default Application set for Adobe .pdf files

I am helping to create/deploy a Windows 10 image in one of my Customers environment. There is a requirement to have Adobe Reader DC in a Gold Windows 10 image.

I am preparing the Gold Image with MDT 2013 Upd 2 and deploy it with SCCM (build 1606).

One of issues we faced is a Software Association for Adobe Reader .pdf files: Even though Adobe Reader setup was customized with Customization Kit and Adobe Reader was set as default Application for PDF files after imaging we observe Microsoft Edge set itself as a default app for PDFs . Sad smile

I googled the issue and found I am not alone… Unfortunately the most common advice is to start Reader and configure it as default app in GUI (for example here is Adobe guide: Work fine I guess for non-enterprise environment, but not suitable for my case. In addition it will set association for the current user only (

Assoc command described here: does not seem to be working in Windows 10. I mean even though assc .pdf  shows correct association Edge is still the default app Smile

I finally found a way to manipulate association with DISM command (

So, here is the solution I am using:

1. On a reference machine with Adobe Reader installed (but not set as a default App for PDF) export default application configuration to a .XML file using dism command: “DISM.exe /Online /Export-DefaultAppAssociations >your.xml

2. Open the XML file in Notepad and delete unnecessary lines before XML header

3. Browse the XML to see association for .pdf

4. Here is a trick. You need aplicationID of Adobe Reader to be able to replace ApplicationID of EDGE you have in the XML. I right-clicked a PDF document and selected Open With. I see the prefered App is Edge, but the Reader is just after that. So in the XML file I copied the first ID from “OverwriteOfProgIdIs” parameter to ProgId parameter. Hopefully the explication is clear. Anyway, my line for .pdf association looks like:

<Association Identifier=”.pdf” ProgId=”AppX86746z2101ayy2ygv3g96e4eqdf8r99j” ApplicationName=”Adobe Reader” ApplyOnUpgrade=”true” OverwriteIfProgIdIs=”AppXk660crfh0gw7gd9swc1nws708mn7qjr1″ />

After that I I import the XML file back to Windows using:

Dism.exe /Online /Import-DefaultAppAssociations:your.xml

Please note, even that won’t change association for the current user. But, all new users will get it set properly.

So I created an additional application in my MDT to import the pre-created XML and inserted the Application Deployment step in my TS and re-generated the image. As soon as the image is deployed all domain users should have Adobe Reader as a default app for PDFs.

Note: I guess I could use offline servicing to inject XML into the image during the image creation and it would help with association for “Administrator”, but I guess online approach  is easier and cleaner.


You can also try a per-user GPO as described here:


4 responses to “SCCM: Windows 10 changes Default Application set for Adobe .pdf files

  1. Daniel Davila April 3, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    Hello, where did you find documentation on how to use OverwriteIfProgIdIs? I can’t seem to find anything on the XML Schema

    • alex416 April 3, 2017 at 1:31 pm

      If you need ProgID the easiest way is to assign the app in GUI and export default associations in XML using DISM. You will see the ID there.


      • Daniel Davila April 3, 2017 at 5:44 pm

        I know the ProgID part, just not sure about the OverwriteIfProgIdIs and ApplyOnUpgrade options in the XML. I tried to find this on the MS Site but can’t find anything. Curious to know how you found this 🙂

  2. alex416 April 3, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    You are right, MS documentation is very limited here.

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