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FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Open Files


Why does my file not open when I double click on it?

This can be very frustrating. There are a few reasons why this could occur. For one, your Windows operating system might not recognize the file type. Usually Windows will tell you that in order to open the file it needs to know which program created it. It will generally offer you the option of using a web service to try to find the appropriate software or selecting a program from a list.

Both of these are not that helpful, and waste your time. For example, even if you find out via the web service the correct program, you probably won't have the software installed. FileCure takes the guess work out of dealing with files. It will analyze the file, see if you have the correct software and direct you to where you can download the appropriate program, if needed.

What are file extensions?

File extensions are simply the suffixes that appear after a period in a filename. They help Windows identify which software the file is associated with. This is called a "file association."

Let's use schoolproject.doc as an example. Schoolproject is what is known as the "root name" and .doc is the file extension. The file extension .doc lets Windows know that it is a word processing document and most likely was created by Microsoft Word.

Which software do I need to open my file?

In the early days of file extensions, they were used as a way to identify the file's generic type. A good example is the file extension .txt, which indicates a plain text document, or .gfx, which let your PC know it was dealing with a graphics file. As time went on, extensions became more and more complex, and became associated with specific software or even versions of programs.

FileCure makes it easy to figure out what to open files with. After studying the file type, if you don't have the necessary software, it will guide you to appropriate programs.

Why does my Windows Media Player keep trying to open PDF files?

At times, and for various reasons, certain file types become wrongly associated with specific programs. This can be problematic as every time you click on that file type the wrong program will launch!

You can manage your file associations by going through your Windows Start menu. However, this can involve several steps and take some time. The easiest way to make changes is through FileCure's handy "Manage" feature. It couldn't be easier to make adjustments whenever they are needed.

Why can't I see the file extension?

With Windows, the file extension is hidden by default. This makes it difficult to figure out which software to use. This can easily be fixed by:

  1. Opening a folder on your hard drive (for example, "My Computer" or "My Documents"
  2. Under the " Tools" menu, select " Folder Options. ")
  3. Now go to the " View" tab. Under the Advanced Settings, you will find " Hide extensions for known file types. "
  4. You want the box to be empty/unchecked. Then click on " OK. " The extensions should now be shown.

What are some of the most common file extensions?

There are many, many different file extensions. However, some will pop up more often than others. Below is a list of 10 of the most common file extensions.

  • .exe This is an executable file. Most often it is software which will run when opened. The extension is also used for self-extracting archive files.
  • .pdf The Portable Document Format is used documents containing text, images and even links. They are closely associated with Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader.
  • .doc (or .docx) These are word processing documents associated with Microsoft Word or, in the case of .docx, versions of Microsoft Office Word 2007.
  • .htm (.html) These are web pages. HTML means Hyper-Text Markup Language.
  • .mp3 This is a common audio file format. Developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group, it is popular because it compresses files down and is used by the most well known audio players. However, it does not have the audio quality of such formats as AIF or Wave.
  • .ppt (.pptx) This is a Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentation. Starting with Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, the .pptx extension is being used.
  • .jpg This compressed graphic format is commonly used for photos. The format was standardized by the Joint Photographic Experts Group, which is known as JPEG.
  • .zip As bigger and bigger files are sent via email, more people are turning to .zip files. This allows every file within an folder (or archive) to be separately compressed. Programs such as WinZip and WinRar are often used to "unzip" these files.
  • .xls Microsoft Excel uses this extension for its spreadsheets.
  • .dll Dynamic-link library files are crucial to the operation of your PC. You should not try to open them.

What are the most common problems associated with file extensions?

While file extensions are designed to help your PC, they can also cause difficulties. Some that you might encounter include:

  • Missing extensions. If there is no extension, it is hard for your computer to open it. This means you will likely waste a lot of time trying to figure out which program to try. FileCure can simplify this process by analyzing the file and telling you what you need to know.
  • Incorrect extension. Files can be saved with the wrong extension. This can be frustrating as the wrong program will likely try to open it!
  • Extension associated with the wrong program. Having Windows assume you want your .jpg files from your camera opened by Excel is not very helpful.
  • Not having the right program. Everyone seems to have something different on their computer. This means that you might not have - or be able to find easily - the right program to crack open some files.
  • Mistakes when managing file associations. With one wrong click your file extension can be associated with a program that cannot open it.
  • New file extensions. Technology is always evolving. With that evolution comes new programs and file extensions.
  • Worries about viruses and other malware If you are not exactly sure about the sender of a file, you should never open it. Viruses and other malware is often sent via email and other file sharing methods.

FileCure can help you fix all of these problems and open your files: Try a scan now!


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I used to be able to open a file, and now I can't!

Downloads, new programs, and other activities can quickly mess up your file extensions. Try using FileCure to lock in your preferred file associations.

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