How to Delete File Associations (Default Programs) in Windows 7

In windows XP this was easy, in Windows 7, apparently one needs to edit the registry as suggested here:

Let XYZ be the extension you want to deassociate.
With a registry editor (e.g., regedit.exe),

1. go to
remove the subtree .XYZ

2. go to
remove the subtree .XYZ
remove the subtree XYZ_auto_file

When I tried this, step 1 seems to suffice. Why it has to be so complicated is beyond my understanding.

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