View file extensions in Windows XP

This article was modified on 2012-02-27 16:59:13

View file extensions in Windows XP Recently I wanted to view the extension of a file in Windows XP. I thought it`s going to be easy and it was but only after someone explained me. Now that I know, I was thinking to share this information with you since I am sure that I am not the last person that will have to deal with this issue. So, if you are not able to see the extension for a file in Windows XP I am going to guide you in a couple of seconds. Please keep in mind that those instructions are useful and they will help you only if you`re using Windows 2000/XP ( all versions ). First, you will need to access your ``My Computer`` icon on your desktop. You can see in the following picture how ``My Computer`` looks :

My Computer window on a computer running Windows XP
Now, make sure to navigate to the folder that contains your files. For example if you want to view the file extensions for a software, make sure to navigate to that folder, as you can see in the following example, my files are located on E: drive. So, I am going to access the drive and then the folder to where my files are located.

Example of a folder containing several programs in Windows XP 
Supposing that I want to see the extension type for those programs. All you need to do is to go to ``Tools`` and then select ``Folder Options``, exactly like I did in the following picture : 

Accessing Tools - Folder Options inside a folder in Windows XP

A new window will open. You will need to use your mouse and scroll down until you will see ``Hide extensions for known file types``. Make sure to uncheck this option and when you`re ready, click on ``Apply`` button, exactly like I did in the following picture ( sorry to repeat this ) : 

Unchecking hide extensions for known file types in Windows XP 
And, here it is, now you can see the file extension type for all programs. It should  look/appear like in this picture, it will add the extension type at the end of each program name, such as software.exe 

Folder that contains several programs along with their extension
Well it`s pretty simple, isn`t it ? Now, if you`re wondering how to hide the file extensions ( in Windows 2000/XP the file extensions are by default hidden ) back, you will need to go back to ``Tools`` - ``File Options`` and there you will need to make sure that ``Hide extensions for known file types`` is checked and Windows will hide them back. However, I would strongly recommend you to configure your Windows to show you the file extension for all files. Actually, my advise would be to make this permanent, make sure that you can always view all files extension. Why ? A good reason would be - security. If someone is trying to send you a file and that file has a .jpg.exe extension you would definitely know that it could be a virus, trojan or any other malware due to the strange look. Sure, you can avoid such things by using a good antivirus but this won`t always help you, so it`s better to be more familiar with file extensions in the long run.

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