How to Open Unknown
opening an unknown file extension?
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Struggling with a Stubborn
In order to open any file you must have software that is applicable with that
file type. This software is able to decipher the code and display or execute the
resulting file in the appropriate manner.
- This means that without the proper
application it is typically impossible to work with the file as you would with a
recognized file type.
It may be possible that certain file types can be viewed or previewed with
certain applications but can only be edited with other programs. Again, this
isn't uncommon, and depending on the action you need to take with that file you
will need to get the appropriate application. Image files are a common example
of this. Applications such as the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer can be used to
adequately view the images but in order to edit the file you will need to use
another application such as Paint.
Previewing a File Extension
As well as using the application
that first created the file it may be possible to use a file pre-viewer to
preview the contents. In some cases this can even be done using the text editor
that is installed on your computer already. Whether you use WordPad or any other
text editor it may be possible to see the contents of a file using this method.
Simple right click on the file and select Open With and then click Browse to
browse your computer and find the text editor you want to use.
Third party previewing software can also be used. These file viewers obviously
do not offer the capability to work with or edit the file in question but they
do provide a good snapshot of the file contents. Using this preview you can
determine whether you want to view and edit the file fully, in which you will
need to purchase or acquire the appropriate program, or if the preview is
The first step in opening an unknown file type is obviously to determine the
software you will need. Later in this guide is a list of common file extensions
and the application or applications that can be used to view or edit these
files. With literally thousands of different extensions it is not possible to
include every single one in this guide, but those that are not included can
usually be found by searching online using the extension as the search phrase.
Once you have found the application you will need to purchase, download, and
install it to your computer and then open the file. Depending on the application
you may be prompted when installing the program to determine the file types you
wish to open with this software. Alternatively, when you attempt to open a
relevant file extension and are prompted to decide on the software to use you
should tick the box to open all files of this type with that software. In the
future when you attempt to open files of this type your Windows operating system
will know the application to use in the future.
Every file type is structurally different. Without using the proper application
to open a file the architecture of the file can not be read and the file can not
be viewed or edited properly. For this reason, the biggest part of the challenge
of opening an unknown file type, is finding the proper software that is most
closely and regularly associated with that file structure.
Some file types can be converted to another format for opening with an
application you have. For example a 123 file is a Lotus spreadsheet file but
using a conversion tool it is possible to open the file in Microsoft Excel in
order that you can view and edit the contents using Excel instead. This also
negates the need to purchase a copy of the Lotus 123 software.
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