Replace Notepad



  • I have a Windows 10 PC and wished to replace Notepad with Notepad++
    So using Admin command prompt, entered the command reg add “HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe” /v “Debugger” /t REG_SZ /d “”%ProgramFiles%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f and pressed enter. Got the response ERROR: Invalid syntax.
    Type “REG ADD /?” for usage.

    Where have I gone wrong?



  • @Jim-FitzGerald said:

    reg add “HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe” /v “Debugger” /t REG_SZ /d “”%ProgramFiles%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f

    It’s hard to tell, because the forum mangled your quotes into “smart quotes”. To avoid that, use backticks around the text you are quoting (like `blah "hey" blah` will render as blah "hey" blah instead of blah “hey” blah). Or put it on a line by itself (blank lines surrounding) indented four spaces:

    reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe" /v "Debugger" /t REG_SZ /d ""%ProgramFiles%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f 
    rem - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - ^^
    

    You may notice there’s two double quotes next to each other. the cmd.exe prompt won’t handle embedded quotes the way you want. You would have to do escaping… and getting that escaping right is sometimes a pain. Personally, if I were just editing one entry in the registry, I would just run regedit (in admin mode, of course), and add the value/data pair to the correct key using the GUI. That way you don’t have to worry about the command-line escaping. Oh, and given that you’re using %-notation for %ProgramFiles%, I would recommend choosing “expandable string value” rather than “string value” – that sometimes makes a difference whether or not the environment value will expand.

    Good luck.

    (Personally, I just associate .txt and other such extensions with Notepad++, rather than trying to “replace” windows’ notepad.exe… but it’s up to you.)



  • @PeterJones Hi Peter
    Thanks for that.
    My experience of command line input dates back some 30 years ago with basic Unix commands.
    So I took the command from this page;
    https://notepad-plus-plus.org/features/replace-notepad.html
    And copied it thus;

    reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe" /v "Debugger" /t REG_SZ /d "\"%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f
    

    And pasted it in to the admin command window, resulting in the invalid syntax error



  • @Jim-FitzGerald said:

    My experience of command line input dates back some 30 years ago with basic Unix commands.

    As does mine. And I use Linux escaping every day. And I still get Windows escaping wrong sometimes. :-)

    But since you’re copying from someone else’s supposedly-tested command – and the version you quoted looks correct this time, rather than mangled by the forum – I no longer think it’s escaping.

    resulting in the invalid syntax error

    Strange.

    I don’t have write-permission to that area of the registry, even when running with Admin privileges, so I cannot test that exact command. However, using the same syntax, but going into an HKCU key instead (where I do have write privileges), I see:

    C:\>reg add "HKCU\Software\Classes\.nppssn\dne" /v "Debugger" /t REG_SZ /d "\"%ProgramFiles(x86)%\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f
    
    The operation completed successfully.
    
    C:\>reg query "HKCU\Software\Classes\.nppssn\dne" /v "Debugger"
    
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.nppssn\dne
        Debugger    REG_SZ    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe" -notepadStyleCmdline -z
    

    So the syntax seems right when using a different key.

    (If I try to write to the key you quoted, I get ERROR: Access is denied., so I don’t think yours is a permission issue)

    (I also see why it didn’t matter about REG_SZ vs REG_EXPAND_SZ: cmd.exe is expanding the variable before it gets put into the registry, so the registry key doesn’t need to be able to expand it)

    I’m wondering if it’s the environment variable that it’s not knowing. If you’re on a 32-bit Windows OS, then it wouldn’t know that variable…

    (Also, if you’ve got 64-bit Notepad++ on 64-bit windows, it’s not in the %ProgramFiles(x86)% anyway, but in the %ProgramFiles%, so you’d have to change that, as it mentioned on the page you cited)

    You might also try an explicit path, rather than using the variable:

    reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe" /v "Debugger" /t REG_SZ /d "\"C:\Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f
    

    or

    reg add "HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Image File Execution Options\notepad.exe" /v "Debugger" /t REG_SZ /d "\"C:\Program Files\Notepad++\notepad++.exe\" -notepadStyleCmdline -z" /f
    

    (depending on where notepad++ is installed)

    If that still claims syntax error for you, I really think you should try to input the key with regedit directly. If you want REG_SZ (ie, a “string” value), then you should not input the %ProgramFiles(x86)% variable, but instead use the fully-expanded path; if you use REG_EXPAND_SZ (ie, an “expandable string” value), then feel free to use the variable-notation, even in the registry entry.



  • Hi Peter
    I tried your second option; same result…
    As I don’t feel comfortable tinkering with the Registry - Windows is a pane, I’ll follow your first suggestion of changing file association!
    Thanks for your help.



  • @Jim-FitzGerald said:

    Windows is a pane

    LOL - nice pun!



  • @Michael-Vincent
    Thanks; been itching to use that one for years!



  • @Jim-FitzGerald said:

    I don’t feel comfortable tinkering with the Registry

    “reg add” is as much tinkering with the registry as “regedit”, but without the meaningful feedback and ability to immediately see the changes. But if you don’t want to use regedit, that’s your choice.

    And yes, file associations is a good way to go.



  • @PeterJones
    Thanks Peter!


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