File Extension Problems

How to Display, Assign and Open un-associated File Extension Types

How to Display Hidden File Extensions

First of all, before you can change the settings and program your computer to know which programs to use to open different file types you might need to make some hidden file extensions visible. To display the file extensions:

  1. Click to open My Computer
  2. Click the Tools menu, then choose Folder Options
  3. Choose the View tab
  4. In the Advanced Settings window, find the listing to Hide Extensions for Known File Types
  5. Click to clear the check from the corresponding box
  6. Click OK
  7. Now all the file extensions should display

How to Assign File Extension Associations

Now, you can also change the program that your computer uses to open files when you double click them.

  1. Right-click the Start button, then choose Explore
  2. To choose a file type to change the association, click to open a folder that contains the file type
  3. Right click the specified file
  4. Click Open With, then Choose Program

When the Open With box opens, you can either:

  1. Scroll the Programs list to find the program you want
  2. Choose Browse and find the program, then click Open
  3. Choose Look for the Appropriate Program on the Web to find the program online - in this case you find and download new software
  1. Choose "Always Use the Selected Program to Open this Kind of File"
  2. Click OK

Programs to Open Un-associated File Extension Types

You might also get a message that Windows doesn't know what program to use to open un-associated file types. In this case you also need to program an association to open the file. You can download the file first and then:

  1. Right click a file that has the extension you want to assign and choose Open
  2. A dialog box will open and say that Windows Cannot Open the File - either:
    1. Use the Web Service to Find the Appropriate Program - to download
    2. Select the Program from a List - of program you already have
  3. Choose the program you want as in step 5 of the instructions above
  4. Choose "Always Use the Selected Program to Open this Kind of File"
  5. Click OK


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