Today, I had one of those moments of minor frustration where a 'feature' bugged me. So I tried to find a way to fix it and it took about 10 minutes to figure out and confirm it worked. That's about 9.5 minutes longer than I would have liked, so I figured I'd post a quick entry on it in case someone else can save a few minutes in the future.

My problem was having Word documents show up in IE whenever I clicked on a link to a document. I can't count the number of times that's happened and I end up saving it out to my desktop and opening it with Word directly. So I went off to see if there was a way to always make it come up in Word. There was a way, though it's not exactly amazingly easy to find. Here's how you do it:

  1. Launch Windows Explorer.
  2. Select “Folder Options...“ from the Tools menu.
  3. Select the “File Types“ tab.
  4. Scroll down the list of “Registered file types“ until you find “DOC - Microsoft Word Document“ and select it.
  5. Click on the “Advanced...“ button at the bottom of the dialog.
  6. Uncheck the “Browse in same window“ checkbox.

That should do the trick. Absolutely far from mind-blowing, but if you're like me, it's a lot nicer this way. This also works for some other file types such as Powerpoint (PPT). Though, I do find that having Powerpoint decks showing up in the browser is more often a good way to go than it is for Word documents. 

Update (4/29): Omar Shahine has gone ahead and figured out what registry keys affect these settings so it can be done via a registry update script instead of the GUI.  You can find more info here.  He also went through a similar exercise for PDF files which you can find here.