Set UTF-8 as default encoding in Notepad

While the majority of power users will recommend to switch from Notepad to the wonderful Notepad++ or Notepad 2, it is still useful to make the original Windows Notepad save texts in UTF-8 by default. 

First, ANSI, which is the default Notepad encoding) is outdated. There is no benefit in saving files in ANSI over saving them in UTF-8. So why not do it properly.

Second, occasionally I want to have the simplicity of Notepad and still be able to use symbols outside the ANSI standard.

So here is how to do it (solution taken from Microsoft Community; note that you need the admin rights to do it):

  1. Start Notepad, do not type anything, do File > Save As, choose UTF-8 encoding and save the file somewhere as TXTUTF-8.txt.
  2. Copy TXTUTF-8.txt to c:\windows\shellnew.
  3. Run regedit (registry editor) and navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.txt\ShellNew.
  4. Right click in the right window > New > “String Value” and rename it to FileName.
  5. Double click on “FileName” and put TXTUTF-8.txt into “Value data:” field and press OK.

Now the default encoding in Notepad is UTF-8.

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