Troubleshooting "The File Does Not Have an App Associated with It" Error in Visual Studio


Visual Studio is a powerful integrated development environment (IDE) used by developers worldwide to build applications, including ASP.NET MVC web projects. However, you may encounter an error message stating, "The file does not have an app associated with it for performing the action. Please install an app or if one is already installed, create an association in the default apps settings page." This issue prevents the project from launching in a web browser, disrupting your workflow. This blog post will delve into the possible causes of this error and provide comprehensive solutions to resolve it.

Understanding the Error:

The error message indicates that Visual Studio is unable to find or use a suitable application (web browser) to open the web project. This problem can stem from several underlying issues, including misconfigured default browser settings, project properties, or issues with the Visual Studio installation itself.

Possible Solutions

1. Repair Visual Studio

Sometimes, repairing Visual Studio can resolve underlying configuration issues:

  1. Open Visual Studio Installer: From the Start Menu, open the Visual Studio Installer.
  2. Select More Options: Find your version of Visual Studio and click on More (three dots).
  3. Choose Repair: Select Repair and follow the prompts.

2. Verify Default Browser Settings in Windows

The first step is to ensure that you have a default browser set in Windows. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open Settings: Press Windows + I to open the Settings window.
  2. Go to Apps: Navigate to Apps > Default apps.
  3. Set Default Browser: Under the Web browser section, select your preferred browser from the list.

3. Configure the Default Browser in Visual Studio

Next, ensure that Visual Studio is configured to use the correct browser:

  1. Open Options: In Visual Studio, go to Tools > Options.
  2. Navigate to Web Browser: Under Environment, select Web Browser.
  3. Set Default Browser: Ensure your preferred browser is selected as the default.

4. Check Project Debug Settings

Your project settings may need adjustment to properly start the web browser:

  1. Open Project Properties: Right-click on your project in Solution Explorer and select Properties.
  2. Go to Web Tab: Navigate to the Web tab.
  3. Verify Start Action: Ensure that Start Action is set to Current Page or Specific Page with a valid URL.

5. Reinstall the Browser

Reinstalling your browser can fix file association issues:

  1. Uninstall Browser: Uninstall your current browser through Settings > Apps > Apps & features.
  2. Reinstall Browser: Download and reinstall the latest version of your preferred browser.

6. Check File Associations

Ensure that .htm and .html files are associated with your web browser:

  1. Open Settings: Press Windows + I to open the Settings window.
  2. Go to Apps: Navigate to Apps > Default apps.
  3. Choose Default Apps by File Type: Scroll down and select Choose default apps by file type.
  4. Set Associations: Ensure that .htm and .html are associated with your preferred browser.

7. Clear Visual Studio Cache

Clearing the Visual Studio cache can sometimes resolve issues:

  1. Close Visual Studio: Ensure Visual Studio is closed.
  2. Delete Cache: Delete the contents of %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\VisualStudio\<version>\ComponentModelCache.
  3. Restart Visual Studio: Open Visual Studio again and try running your project.

8. Launch Project Manually

As a temporary workaround, you can manually launch your browser:

  1. Run Without Debugging: Press Ctrl + F5 to run your project in Visual Studio.
  2. Open Browser: Manually open your preferred browser.
  3. Navigate to URL: Enter the project URL (usually http://localhost:<port>) in the browser’s address bar.

9. Check IIS Express Configuration

If you’re using IIS Express, verify its configuration:

  1. Open Options in Visual Studio: Go to Tools > Options.
  2. Navigate to Web Projects: Under Projects and Solutions, select Web Projects.
  3. Enable 64-bit IIS Express: Ensure Use the 64 bit version of IIS Express for web sites and projects is checked if applicable.


Encountering the "The file does not have an app associated with it" error in Visual Studio can be frustrating, but by systematically addressing the potential causes, you can resolve the issue and get back to your development work. Whether it’s adjusting your default browser settings, configuring project properties, or repairing your Visual Studio installation, these solutions cover the most common reasons for this error. If you continue to experience problems, consider reaching out to the Visual Studio community or support for further assistance.

In my case, the issue was resolved by repairing Visual Studio.

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