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What is the correct way to install Notepad2 (or some other equivalent) in Windows 7 so that it is executed when WindowsKey-R -> notepad is entered?

I've tried creating shortcuts in C:\windows\System32 or replacing Notepad.exe. Both failed due to permissions issues.

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Just curious, if its only permission issues, then why not change the permissions? –  cop1152 Jun 21 '09 at 14:02

5 Answers 5

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Never replace actual system files. This causes more problems than the actual benefit.

A build of Notepad2 using "Image File Execution Options\Debugger" (a feature in Windows usually used to automatically attach debuggers on processes by substituting a process for another) to replace the original Notepad is available at this URL:


It is way safer than replacing notepad, and doesn't require Windows File Protection to be disable or circumvented. Works on any version of Windows >= XP.

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This is simple:

  1. go to Notepad++ dir and copy Notepad++.exe to notepad.exe but keep both in that dir
  2. edit your path enviroment settings to include that dir but put in int the front of the settings for example:



    C:(PATH to dir of notepad++);C:/Windows/system32;...
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You need to replace the notepad file notepad2's file (renaming is a good option) in 3 directories:

(start replacing them in reverse order, starting with ...DLLCACHE)

Put retry when Windows start complaining about it. And it works.

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There is a solution right on Notepad2 webpage.

Replacing Notepad in Windows Vista

  1. Download and extract Notepad2.
  2. Rename Notepad2.exe to notepad.exe.
  3. Find c:\windows\notepad.exe and c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe and set the owner to ‘Administrators’, and grant Administrators full control.
  4. Using Windows Explorer, drag and drop the renamed notepad2.exe to c:\windows and c:\windows\system32.

Just don't forget to grant 'Administrators' full control.

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Found it... leaving the question up in case others find it useful


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-1 for link only answer (and it's better to use the image file execution method anyway) –  matt wilkie Oct 2 '14 at 18:19

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