What if you cannot see the file extension?

The file extension is the last few letters in the file name after the dot, but in Windows the file extension is now always visible. Windows prefers to hide the file extension so it is not visible.

Why has Microsoft done this? Well, there are advantages and disadvantes of hiding the file name.

Advantages of hiding the file extension include:

Disadvantages of hiding the file extension include:

So there are advantages and disadvantages in hiding the file extension. In any event, if Windows has no idea what the file is (so if Windows does not recognise the file extension) then it will show it.

Fortunatly, it is very simple to tell Windows to always show the file extension:

  1. Start Windows Explorer (note Windows Explorer, not Internet Explorer - possibly the simplest way to start this is to right click the "Start" button and select "explore").
  2. On the menu along the top of the windows explorer window select "Tools" and from that menu "Folder Options...". If you don't see a menu along the top then press the ALT key, in Windows Vista and later the ALT key shows and hides the toolbar.
  3. On the "Folder Options" dialog select the tab called "View".
  4. You should now see the option "Hide extensions for known file types" (you shouldn't need to scroll to see this, although it will be near the bottom of the window). Simply uncheck this, so the box is empty without a tick in it.
  5. Click [OK]

File extensions will now be visible for you.

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