How to show File Extensions in Windows 10 / 8 / 7

File Extension is that which identifies the file type. If you are a regular Windows user, then it is not at all a problem to identify the file type. For it is very important to see file extension to identity the type of file you are trying to open from a security point of view. So in this post, we will see how to show File Extensions and why you should.

Since file names allow you to use multiple full stops, the real name of a malware file could be realword.docx.exe. But because you have not set Windows to show file extensions, you would see only realword.docx. Thinking its a Word document, you could well end up clicking on it and infecting your computer. If you had, on the other hand, set your PC to show file extensions, you would see its ful name – realword.docx.exe, which would help you to identify that it was actually an executable file and in all probability a malware file.

What are File Extensions and how are they useful

Different file types have different extensions. Audio files have .mp3, .wav, .wma and more based on the program used to open that file. File extensions also help the operating system to identify the corresponding program to open that particular file. So, you should be able to see file extensions to be at safer side and we will let you know how to enable options to see file extensions in Windows.

Files without Extensions

As mentioned earlier, by default Windows does not show files extensions and they are hidden. But, you can toggle the option to see them.

Show File Extensions

There are two ways how you can go about accessing this setting. One way is through the Control Panel and other way is through Windows Explorer itself. In both ways, you will be toggling the option to see file extensions.

Through Control Panel

Open Control Panel > Appearance and Personalization.  Now, click on Folder Options or File Explorer Option, as it is now called > View tab. In this tab, under Advance Settings, you will see the option Hide extensions for known file types. Uncheck this option and click on Apply and OK.

show file extensions

Now, you can see file extensions for all files anywhere on your Windows system.

Files with Extensions

These are very simple steps to follow and you do not need any third party software to view file extensions. Windows provides us everything which can be easily achieved and the point lies in knowing and implementing them. This is the first way to see file extensions in Windows 7.

Via Windows File Explorer

In Windows 8.1 explorer, you can access it via View > Options > Change folder and search options. In Windows 7, open Explorer, press Alt on your keyboard to make the Classic bar appear. Next, click on Tools > Folder Options. Now follow the steps mentioned above.

Thus, you can set your Windows to show file extensions in Windows 8. If you have anything to add, please do share with us through comments.

Incidentally, you can also use a Microsoft Fix it 50533 to achieve this. Simply run the Fix It and follow the on-screen instructions.

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Sridhar is a Software Engineer who loves to stay updated with developments in the world of technology. He is fond of writing everything related to Internet, Computers and Mobile and Desktop Operating Systems.