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 hide or show File Extensions and why you should show them.

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 full 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 & 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 the 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 in Windows

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

1] Through Folder Options

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 Advanced Settings, you will see the option Hide extensions for known file types. Uncheck this option and click on Apply and OK.

Windows 10 users may also search for File Explorer Options in Start search box and open this box.

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 with 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.

2] Via Windows File Explorer

In Windows 10/8.1 File 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.

3] Using the Registry Editor

Hit the WINKEY + R button combination to launch the Run utility, type in regedit and hit Enter. Once Registry Editor opens, navigate to the following key-

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Look up for a DWORD entry labeled as HideFileExt.

Double click on the mentioned DWORD entry and set its value as 0. This will show up the hidden file extensions.

A value of 0 will hide the file extensions.

Exit the Registry Editor and then reboot your computer for the changes to take effect.

4] Use Windows Command Prompt

This fix can be used in both the scenarios mentioned above. Insert a bootable drive of Windows 10 installer.

Start by hitting the WINKEY + X combinations and select Command Prompt (Admin) to launch Command Prompt with Administrator Privileges.

Navigate to the root location of that bootable device inside the Command Prompt command line. Once you get there, type in the following to show the file extensions-

reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced /v HideFileExt /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f

And then hit Enter.

You can also enter the following command to hide the file extensions,

reg add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced /v HideFileExt /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

5] Using Group Policy Editor

You can also use the Group Policy Editor and change the setting here:

User Configuration > Preferences > Control Panel Settings > Folder Options.

Set “Show hidden files and folders” and uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”.

Thus, you can set your Windows to show file extensions in Windows 10/8. If you have anything to add, please do share with us through comments.

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Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
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.

6 Comments

  1. PLEASE would you link to the relevant page, not direct to the download file!?

  2. Sridhar Belide

    Maskil… Could you please be clear in your question?

  3. When one clicks on the link to the Microsoft Fix it 50533, it kicks off the download straight away, instead of linking to the relevant KB article (in this case http://support.microsoft.com/kb/865219) and allowing the reader to then initiate the download if/when required.

    I’m suggesting that it’s a bad practice to link direct to the download file, rather than the relevant article.

  4. st

    On my windows 10 system, the OS does not show file extensions for exe files. If I change the view option, it shows all other files extensions except .exe files. This is stupid because that’s the most important file type.

  5. Ilya Nice

    Thanks, this info helped solve my problem!

  6. Sanmeet

    Thank you for your help, it really worked out .

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