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Replace Notepad.exe in Vista with 3rd Party Text Editor

There are a plethora of so-called “notepad replacements” available. Some popular ones include Notepad++ [1], PSPad [2], and Notepad2 [3]. All three of these programs can be set as the default editor for text (and other) files, but there are still times when Windows will open a file with plain old Notepad. The solution is to replace the default Notepad program with the 3rd party editor of your choice. Unfortunately, Notepad.exe is protected Windows file, and simply trying to overwrite it will result in failure.

I’ve created a batch file which will automatically replace the built-in Notepad program with a text editor of your choice. The batch file works with both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista. By default, it is configured to work with PSPad.

  1. Download this ZIP file [4].
  2. Extract the contents of the ZIP to your desktop.
  3. Download [5] and install PSPad.
  4. Double-click on the file PSNotePad.bat you extracted from the ZIP file.
  5. Follow the onscreen prompts to select your operating system.
  6. Delete both files you extracted from the ZIP.

If you want to use something other than PSPad, just replace “PSNotePad.exe” (extracted from the ZIP) with the program of your choice.