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File Extensions in XP and Vista and How to Associate Files with a Program

In Windows XP and Windows Vista - Change the program that starts when you open a file (File association). Show or hide file extensions. Common File Extensions

In Windows XP - change the program that opens a specific file type.

Many file types in Microsoft Windows XP and Windows 2000 are registered to be opened by a particular program. For example, Notepad starts when you want to open a text (.txt) file. You can change the program that starts when you open a file of a certain type.

1. In My Computer (click start button to see link) or Windows Explorer (start – All Programs - Accessories),click the Tools menu, click Folder Options, and then click the File Types tab.

2. In the Registered file types list, click the file type you want to open with a different program, and then click Change.

3. In the Open With dialog box, select the program you want to use, and then click OK.

4. Click OK in the Folder Options dialog box.

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In Windows Vista - change the program that opens a specific file type

If you double-click a file in Windows Vista and it opens in the wrong software program, follow these
steps to choose the program you would prefer that file to use. You can change this setting for an
individual file, or you can tell Windows to open all files of that same type in the software program you

1. Open the folder that contains the file you want to change.
2. Right-click the file that you want to change, and then, depending on the type of file, either click
Open With or point to Open With and then click Choose Default Program.
3. Click the program that you want to use to open this file.
4. Do one of the following:

- If you want all files of that type to open in the same software program, select the Always use
the selected program to open this kind of file check box, and then click OK.
- If you want only that file to open in the software program this one time, clear the Always use
  the selected program to open this kind of file check box, and then click OK.

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Show or Hide File Extensions with File Names

In XP - If you want to turn on the feature to make file extensions visible, open Folder Options (as previous pages).Click the View tab and find the box that says "Hide File Extensions For Known File Types" and
click the box to remove the check. If it is already unchecked, leave it .

In Vista - to make Vista show extensions for all file types.

1. Click Start
2. Select Control Panel
3. Select Classic View
4. Double-click Folder Options
5. Click the View Tab
6. Uncheck Hide Extensions for Known File Types
7. Click Apply button (at the bottom of the window)
8. Click Apply to Folders button (at the top of the window)
9. Click OK

Common File Extensions

. AVI Movie file
.BAK Backup file
.BAT Batch file. Runs a series of DOS commands
.BMP Bit Map picture file. The only format used for wallpaper. Can view in Paint.
.CAB Cabinet file. Compressed files holding program setup files.
.CAL Calendar file
.CBT Tutorial file
.CFG configuration file usually used with MIDI music
.CHK Bad data converted to a file by the Checkdisk or Scandisk program.
.CLP files created by Windows Clipboard
.COM DOS/Windows system file
.CPL Control Panel file
.CRD Windows Cardfile file (Old program from Win 3x)
.CUR Cursor files
.DAT Data files
.DEV Device Driver File
.DLL Dynamic Link Library file used by most Windows programs to activate special instructions
.DOC Document files created by Microsoft WordPad and Word and old versions of WordPerfect
.DRV Device Driver File
.EPS Postscript Printer File
.EXE Main file that runs a Program
.GIF Picture/Graphic file
.GRP Group file for menus
.HLP Help files
.HST History files
.ICO Icon files
.INF Information files associated with a Program.
.INI Initialization files contain information to set options for a program. Most common are the Win.ini and System.ini in Windows. Run Sysedit.exe to look at these.
.JPG and .JPEG Picture/Graphics file. Used extensively on the Web and in Digital cameras. Cannot view with older versions of Paint. Newer versions work with .jpg files. Typically in Win Me, 2000 & XP
.MID and .MIDI Sound files
.MPG Movie files
.MSP Old graphics format
.NET Network files
.OVR Overlay files (small parts of larger files)
.PAL Palette file for use with Paint programs
.PAR Permanent Swap File
.PCX Another Graphic format
.PDF Adobe Acrobat file. Needs Acrobat Reader to open it.
.PIF Program Information File for Windows to run a DOS program
.PIX Picture/Graphic format
.REC Windows Recorder files
.RLE Picture/Graphic files
.RTF Rich Text Format (Similar to .TXT but with better looking text. Can be read by any Wordprocessor.
.SCR Screen Saver Files
.SRC Files used to create .INI files
.SWP Temporary Swap files. Space on Hard drive for Windows to hold data when the RAM is full.
..SYS System files
.TIF/TIFF Picture files
.TMP Temporary files created while programs are in use. Should be deleted when the program closes properly.
.TRM Windows Terminal files
.TTF True Type Font file (the most common on in Windows)
.TXT Text files created and readable by any wordprocessor
.VOC Sound files
.WAV Sound files (Most common in Windows)
.WIN Windows Backup files
.WPD Document files created by WordPerfect
.ZIP Compressed files. Cannot be used until unzipped with PKZip or WinZip

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