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Published on 02.11.09 by Brent Trahan

Show File Extensions

Learn how to set Windows 7 to show a file’s extension in its name.

A file’s extension tells the computer what type of file it is. The extension consist of a unique combination of letters and numbers that follow a period at the end of the file name. For example: an Adobe PDF file has the extension .pdf, or a Microsoft Word document will have a .doc or .docx extension. So a Microsoft Word 2010 document would look like word-document.docx if the file extension were showing instead of word-document. The computer keeps a list of known file extensions handy so that it knows how to deal with each extension it may come across.

By default Windows hides file extensions so that the file names are less confusing for non-technical people.

Show File Extensions

  1. Open the Control Panel from the Start menu.
  2. Open Folder Options in the Control Panel.


    Note: If Folder Options is not available, change View by to Large icons at the top right of the Control Panel.

  3. Select the View tab in the Folder Options window.


  4. Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types.


  5. Click OK to save the changes.

What next? Learn how to change the file’s extension.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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105 Responses to “Show File Extensions”

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  1. Austin says:

    gee thanks :)

  2. Kris says:

    Cool, thank you!

  3. Rob says:

    Thank you very much! Moving from XP to Windows 7, I didn’t know this moved to the control panel.

  4. Ravbit says:

    It works with right alt too.

  5. jedilost says:

    thanks. it really helped.

  6. Teddy M says:

    Thanks !… it’s helpful !…

  7. codeblue2 says:

    Thanks! Windows 7 looks nice but sometimes a real pain in the butt.

  8. Jacky says:

    thanks mate. im not british or autralian lol but thanks

  9. gthing says:

    Thanks! this was realy helpfull!!!

  10. Julia C Taylor says:

    I don’t know what I would have done without this! It was easy to find on Google and quick to use. Thanks.

  11. Todd T says:

    So easy, yet I missed it for too long. Thanks for the help!

  12. Russo123 says:

    I was having trouble with this for ages. Thanks man.

  13. johanericka says:

    thanks for your great help!!
    this little setting will save my PC :D

  14. Altec says:

    in win 7 u dont need to go to control panel to acess folder options just click on tools drop down bar and click on folder options

  15. HIlltopper says:

    Thanks so much for publishing–help on the Windows 7 computer couldn’t find this!

  16. Benz_200t says:

    Thanks alot….really needed this help….

  17. HARDIK PATEL says:



  18. SJLind says:

    awesome, dude :)

  19. Donna says:

    Thank you so much! You really could not have made this easier =]

  20. Brento says:

    Good Job.

    Now fix the Windows 7 bug with the file association defaults on .doc

  21. ratata says:

    really usefull who ever made it must be a lucky man/female

    good a genius like is good

  22. CrazyShooter says:

    Thanks… you saved my pokemon save file ^^

  23. CrazyShooter says:

    Man I’m really I found this… and it’s really easy too… thanks again. God bless you!

  24. Bartekxx12 says:

    Cool, but it didnt move to control panel, well t did but it still is where it was…

    Just go to my computer – Organize – Folder and search options and your there :D

  25. chris a says:

    i’m with Brento on this, i need to convert an old .rtf , and no program i find can convert it, they don’t recognise the file, and the file shows no file extension.BTW it opens fine on my gf’s laptop using xp sp3 and wordpad

  26. Brittany says:

    i did this and it still doesn’t work..

  27. Bill says:

    Thanks for this tip. I just moved from XP to Windows 7, and was having a problem finding this as a global command.

  28. cory says:

    thanks mate. this is what I needed.

  29. JohnSmith says:

    Win7 Pro = Control Panel>Appearence and Personalization>Folder Options

  30. JohnSmith says:

    W i n 7 P r o = Control Panel>Appearence and Personalization>Folder Options

  31. Wow says:

    done and lots of thanks

  32. Imam says:

    Cool , thanks …. :) good luck … i just move from vista to win7 ultimate

  33. Dustin says:

    Simple but very helpful.
    Thank you!

  34. ravish kumar says:

    Thanks .. it works nicely

  35. mohammad says:

    thank you , it was very helpful.

  36. patwake says:

    thanks mate, I loved your tutorials

  37. Don says:

    Well documented – worked like a charm!


  38. Rescue says:

    Great site, well documented. Just what i needed.

  39. Imran Mohammed says:

    Thanks. That helped.

  40. pradip patel says:

    thank you very much,

  41. Mads says:

    I wonder why they disable it, its annoying. Thanks for the help.

  42. Nadeem says:

    oh i know it very well i had learn this trick by own to hide some files from childrens so that they did’nt miss use it if you want 2 keep ur files secure so change its extension to unknown extention so that it may be un-usefull for others ………

  43. Kevin Phillips says:

    Is there a way to temporarily change folder opening behavior so that I could (on a case-by case basis)request a folder open in a new window, while still keeping the general preference to have it open in the same window?


  44. Dorf says:

    Thanks this helped me a lot

  45. Florin says:

    Thank you !!! It help me ! Was the answer i was locking for !!!

  46. karunakar says:

    thnk u

  47. katie says:

    i still dont get it….

  48. mark klate says:

    thanks,really help 4 me

  49. Jonny says:

    Thanks really helped me!!!!

  50. thathappen says:

    thanks a lot sir
    it help so much :D

  51. Jason says:

    Omg thank you so much.I forgot how to open those extensions since I upgraded my os.

  52. thanks you so much for your tips to show extensions file in windows 7…

    Thanks You
    Aditya Perdana

  53. Eric says:

    There is a Microsoft fix it package that can be use to show file extensions in an automatic way.

    See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/865219

  54. Fast Study Skills says:

    Thanks! Wow I’m not sure how anyone using previous versions of Windows would have known to go to control panel, switch to large icons, and change the settings in the folder options. Is is me or does it sometimes seem like Microsoft makes their upgrades less user friendly?

  55. naga says:

    Thank a lot learnt a new thing

  56. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you very much! since I have different versions of Word on my computers I really need to be able to keep track of document types for when I move one to another.

  57. Fahmi says:

    Thanks , you’re the one buddy , great piece of information and very helpful , been looking for it for so long,

  58. Viky says:

    Thanks very helpful. Using a MAC 95% of the time, windows is more and more full of surprising surprises!!!

  59. Brent says:

    Test comment

  60. jiggajuice says:

    well well that worked out jus swell

  61. patrickjoshua says:

    zeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeems to be working””””””””””””””””””””””’ = = = = =

  62. concerned one says:

    uhm.. win 7 works in some ways just like xp.. i totally bypassed vista.. and run my win 7 as i would have my xp. *shrugs* is this the extent of peoples concentration and knowledge these days?? omg. this is a bit scary. ive never had a problem with saving my mp3s on either os and i’m alarmed at how many people needed to look up something that we wound up learning about xp. ie RIGHT CLICK AND SAVE TARGET?
    but then again too i may be one of the very few comp owners that take enough of an interest in them to learn to rebuild my own so’s i don’t have to fork out extra money for rebuild due to a frap up thanks but i’ll do the work myself
    as for win 7 concern….

    GUYS 7 WORKS ALMOST LIKE XP> but better because you can use your start menu to search for it after if you didn’t know where it went

    and don’t even TALK to me about vista.
    *shudders with disgust*
    so what if win 7 is vista based framework
    its a vista that actually WORKS as opposed to the other vistas which i won’t even deign to touch
    ran win xp MCE 2005 for the longest time before win 7 came out
    so if you can run xp.. then yu can run 7 the commands are very similar …
    (tho i have NO idea why you guys didn’t know that)
    nuff said

  63. Toni says:

    didn’t think i could change an iTunes to mp3 but it worked – thanks for the info!!!!

  64. Dipaan says:

    thank you so much for your guidence.according to that i got extra knowledge from this section.thnk you!

  65. Sasuke says:

    thanks a lot!!. :-)

  66. amir says:

    that was awsome

  67. hasson says:

    thanks my friend for you help

  68. Khairul says:

    Thank you so much. I’m looking for this for 2 weeks. Thanks again.

  69. Jenny says:

    i do not understand this :S

  70. jack42779 says:

    Very well done. Once I was directed to the Folder Options link, it was a breeze. Thanks again.

  71. Meeeeeeee says:

    Ever since my shell program of winfile went down, I’v been quite lost, unable to change file extensions (Untill now). So thank you

  72. Selvam says:

    Thanks… it works fine :)

  73. trueson says:

    Guys,thanks for your advice on file extension.I really appreciate it.Let the good work continue.

  74. LC says:

    You can always find it on the web. Thank you.

  75. Sherryl says:

    Or you could simply do a system restore . My files and programs somehow got changed to .ink extensions but they changed back to the original extension after I ran system restore to the day before. Problem solved.

  76. sam_nfs says:

    thanks for the tip..:)
    i was using this method from past 3-4 years on windows xp….bt this stopped working since last 2 years..do u know wat made this happened…?well never tried it on windows7…m a windows7 user…

  77. nitesh kumar says:


  78. Shruti says:

    Hey, its still not working yaar, I have already done whatever you have mentioned but still my PC’s icons are not showing it’s appropriate extension… please help me..

  79. Regi says:

    thanks to share. helped!

  80. honey says:

    thanks it really works

  81. William Burrous says:

    I still can’t download any song!!!!!!!!

  82. doy says:

    thank you very much

  83. saravananforall says:

    Thanks mack .. . .

  84. mhelski says:

    thanks for the tip

  85. presley brown says:

    thank you very much. . . .

  86. SSR says:

    I don’t know what happen to my computer while I try to follow the description above, I cannot make it as unhidden file extension, mean it still don’t show file extension.

    So how can I do for my computer (WIN 7)? Pls help me!!

  87. abhi says:

    thnx for service its realy gr8..:)

  88. DC says:

    Thanks, mate! Its really useful!

  89. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I love the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .
    . Anyhow, great site!

  90. shymos says:

    Wt about windows phone htc ???

  91. jane says:

    Its got lot of things but complicated lot of stuff I can’t get

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