Sunday, July 16, 2006

How to replace notepad.exe with notepad2.exe

Update: The Setup installer of the latest Notepad2 will automatically replace the Windows Notepad. Also, the method of replacement is very different for Windows 7, compared to what is described below. Instead of actually replacing the Windows Notepad, a registry hack simply redirects all Notepad requests to Notepad2. The Setup installer uses this registry hack. I am unable to determine if the setup does a replacement in Windows XP as well.

Original Post:
I searched the Internet on information on how to do that, and I found this nice page: Click here to see it.

But both the methods didn't work in my Windows installation, as the file protection dialog box was NEVER appearing. Windows was automatically replacing Notepad2 with the original Notepad without any warning or question. Then I worked around another method. Call it Method 3 if you will.

NOTE: These instructions apply to Windows XP Service Pack 2 only! My Windows installation is the Tablet PC Edition.

Download Notepad2 and extract it into a temporary folder.
Close all open windows of Notepad.
Go to My Computer and open C: Drive.
Go to Tools > Folder Options in the menu bar.
Go to View tab.
Under "Hidden files and folders", select "Show hidden files and folders".
Uncheck "Hide extensions for known file types" and "Hide protected operating system files".
Click OK.
Now you should see a new folder in C drive, called i386. Open it.
Go back to the temporary folder you have Notepad2 in.
Make a copy of Notepad2.exe and rename it to NOTEPAD.EX_
Copy this to C:\i386
Now go to C:\WINDOWS\system32
Rename notepad.exe to notepad.ex$
Make another copy of Notepad2.exe in the temporary folder, and rename it to notepad.exe
Now copy this to C:\WINDOWS\system32
Wait a few seconds to see if it is automatically replaced.
Now it shouldn't be so. If it does get replaced, then try this below. Otherwise go to FINAL STEPS.

Open Notepad and paste the following in it:

copy /Y "notepad.exe" "C:\WINDOWS\"
copy /Y "notepad.exe" "C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllcache\"
copy /Y "notepad.exe" "C:\WINDOWS\system32\"

Save it as "np.bat" in the temporary folder having Notepad2 (Make sure the "Save as type" is selected as "All files".
IMPORTANT: Close Notepad, and all open windows of Notepad.
Now go to the temporary folder and double click np.bat
This should work.
Now do the final steps below.

Go to Tools > Folder Options > View.
Reverse all the changes you had done previously.
Click OK.
Run Notepad by clicking Start > All Programs > Accessories > Notepad.
Is it still the original Notepad, or is it the better-than-the-best Notepad2?

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