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Published on 10.31.07 by Brent Trahan

How-to Change a File Extension

Learn how to change a file’s extension in Windows Vista.

All files end with an extension like .txt for a plain text document or .jpg for a picture. The extension tells Windows Vista what type of file it is and what program to open it with. This guide shows you how to change a file’s extension in Windows Vista.

Change a File Extension

Show File Extensions

First you need to set Windows Vista to show file extensions.

  1. Click Computer in the Start menu.
  2. Press the Alt key on the right side of your keyboard.
  3. A hidden menu will appear in the Computer window. Click Tools and then click Folder Options.
  4. Click the View tab.
  5. Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types.
  6. Click OK to save your changes.

Learn how to show file extensions in Windows 7 too.

Change a File Extension

Now that we can see a file’s extension we can change it.

  1. Click on the file that you want to change the extension.
  2. Wait a second or two.
  3. Click the file again.
  4. The name of the file will become highlighted. Simply erase the extension and give it a new one.

Still need help? Ask your computer question now.

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118 Responses to “How-to Change a File Extension”

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  1. Martin says:

    Thanks alot.

  2. Carl says:

    Thankyou! That was driving me crazy! : )

  3. Paul Ong says:

    No, I tried but I received this message:

    If you change a file name extension, the file may become unusable.

    Any idea to deal with this problem?

  4. Brent Trahan says:

    That is OK Paul. It’s just a warning that lets you know if you change the file’s extension it might not work. You could always change it back without causing any problems.

  5. Doorman says:

    I guess that Paul Ong was actually asking how to get rid ofthe message “If you change a file name extension, the file may become unusable.” For example, I want to rename .ra to .rar (because that way it would be correct for this archive file). This message keeps popping up. Really annoying. Any ideas of having extensions shown but not getting a warning when you are changing known extensions?

  6. Doorman says:

    oh, yah, btw, you can just click on file and not wait for 2 seconds, just click F2 in order to get from step 1 to step 4 of changing file extension.

  7. John says:

    Finnaly! You help me! Now I finnaly can change a txt file to html one… FINNALY! Thanks, you really helped me!!!

  8. Quesia says:

    THANK YOU!!!

  9. AussieBurner says:

    Thank *&%#$%% god! I’m a mac user and that was driving me nuts. I hate windows!!!!! But I love you. :)

    • wez says:

      well fag user, im from the future (using W7) and im just letting you know that everyone hates you too… :)

  10. Will says:

    wow thanks man!!! thank you soooooooooo muchhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was sooooooooo frustrated why renaming wouldn’t work… you saved me big time! thank you!!!

  11. Pala says:

    Ok, did this and it’s still not freaking working. I am about to throw this vista piece of crap. As soon as I click on the file name, the extension disappears. And I have double checked the settings to make sure the hide extension option is unchecked. Please save a new laptop and help me.

  12. prasa says:

    I changed the file extension from
    TXT to DOC and by mistakenly said YES to the prompt. How to retrieve the document become unusabale.


  13. Hamza says:

    Thankssss a bunch man…

  14. rayyeow says:

    thankyou very much!! I really need this help so badly.

  15. WOOT!!!!!!!!!!! says:


  16. Beau says:

    Finally! Geez I wasted 25 minutes finding this quick solution… no one else seem to understand the issue- changing an extension one time, quickly. Thanks very much for the help.

  17. Agustin Cubillos says:

    Thanks a lot. It worked fine.


  18. Adam 747 says:

    wow thanks alot!! it took me a couple of mins to figure out how to change it then i relised u need to put the song name.mp3 lol

    cheers adam

  19. Narutoh65 says:

    Thx alot

  20. zelia says:

    what is a file extention?

  21. zamani737 says:

    omg thx to adam747

  22. kba says:

    thanks for the info. It helped a lot. Iv’e been trying to figure out how to upload a vidoe for a while and this works great.

  23. amber says:

    hey. i need help. ok i went to the folder options and changed all that i had to but there was no hidden file that poped up. so what do i click on?

  24. Daniel says:

    It didn’t work when I tried changing a .htm to an.mp3 file. What do I do?

  25. samster says:

    thanks ;)

  26. gemma says:

    It didn’t work, I have a laptop and I tried to use the right one wich didn’t work at all. And on the left one I got a hidden menu bu there I could’nt find anything that said tools :(

  27. XChaDX says:

    For your laptop.You can try to open the “my computer” on your desktop or any other folders. After that press and hold left alt then press F this will open the menu bar above with the “file” menu selected then just follow the instructions above. Hope this help.

  28. xoxo4lolli4pop says:

    For some reason I cant save the file or drag it to my itunes. it keeps saying it cannot be played on my ipod…
    any advice?

    thanks a bunch!

  29. lalala says:

    i still don’t get how to do this thing

  30. confused says:

    So I’m dealing with an mp3 and I rename it blahblah.mp3 but my music players won’t play it.
    real player says it contains data that may be corrupt and wmp says that the codec can not be read. Any suggestions?

    • Brandon says:

      A lot of people tend to have this problem. I did shortly after trying this.
      But I somehow got WMP to play a changed mp3 file by after changing the file I wanted to an mp3 I went back to the View tab in Folder Options, checked and unchecked the ‘hide extensions for known file types’ then applied it. It should work for anyone.

      • mizbientedos says:

        hey there. i followed the instructions thoroughly, but my WMp still wont play the changed file. then i read this feed and tried to do it but it still not playing…any other suggestions? thanks!!!

  31. Well Azevedo says:

    Wow, man!Thanx! I was almost quiting of trying. That was, althought simple, really helpful! God bless you.

  32. Dan says:

    Thanks for the tip. You have helped me a lot…

  33. Tyler says:

    how can you use this site with a mac? and i have a macbook so it has no right click……

  34. Leolynn says:

    Thanks a lot! I’ve tried my Elvis’s & Connie Francis’s songs in html files to change to mp3 format
    in vain for nearly 3 months.Now that I’ve got them with your invalueable help. Thanks again.

  35. sandeep says:


  36. Cheryl says:

    Hi, this information is so useful to me! thank you(:

  37. lonehunter says:

    this is really helpful. thanks

  38. salimono says:

    you are a real nerd! thank you very much. changed a file with extention “wow” to pdf and pooof. it works on winXP.

  39. not a com nerd says:

    OMG!! Thanks!! who ever wrote this!!
    Omg your so awesome!!
    All u hav 2 do is uncheck that hide thing n then change the format!

  40. Emily says:

    When I’m on computer, and press the right side alt on my keyboard, no hidden window pops up. nothing happens but the word file being highlighted. Any help?

  41. Angela says:

    Nothing happens when I press ALT :(

  42. RD says:

    Pretty cool. Thanks for the tip :D

  43. aj says:

    hi, i’m trying to download a song but wen i click the download icon, nothing happens, once i tried it but iT only played on my wmp but didn’t save, then i right clicked on the icon and tried to “save target as” this dialogue box came up said something was downloading but then closed after 3 secs i don’t know where what went. i was then advised to do a “how to” for vista and was brought to this site, i followed as far as the first part but couldn’t continue because i don’t know where the music is. all i want to do is download the song to a folder on my desktop. i use to be able to with my last laptop but for some reason i can’t do so. FYI i use to have a sony laptop and now i work with an acer………………HELP!!

  44. Godspeed says:

    man, i’m having same problem…..anyone can help????

  45. maria says:

    I CANT GET IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT ISN”T HELPINGGGG!!!!!!!!

  46. yan2k says:

    Awesome… thank you… simple but important..

  47. Novi Pazar says:

    THX so much!!! :-)))
    6 years ago, i have a problem with some mp3 files, they whare blank files, but mp3 and guy who sold me comp change extension whit DOS, but not all songs and i ask him how did he do it, he ain’t tell me and so i have to erase some good songs.
    And now i learn with your help. :-)))
    Once again, THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH!!!!!!!!

  48. gary hall says:

    I’m trying to change the name of iexplore.exe in vista as antivirus pro has taken over my computer. Vista says the change is denied. how do I bypass that.

  49. Nadim says:

    Thnx a lot I really grateful to u.

  50. Boomer says:

    If you are using classic menu, just go into Control Panels, make sure it’s set to “Classic” and you will see folder options in there.

  51. Boomer says:

    I just right click on the file i want to change the extension of. Then go to “Open With” and then “Choose Default Program”.

  52. isabelle says:

    finaly someone that was able to give a good answer. I always forget about that ALT key. loll. ty very much!!

  53. Hamid says:

    Thanks a lot dear finally i get a straight forward true answer.

  54. Alex says:

    Perfect fix for the last step of creating your own free ringtones from songs you own. (Or stole) U basically just have to open iTunes, listen to the song, pick the 30 seconds you want to use as a ringtone (will not work for more than 30 seconds) right click the song hit get info go to options, change the song length from the beginning time of the 30 seconds to the end time of the 30 seconds, apply it, right click the song, create a 30 second AAC version, copy that to your desktop, use this MAGICAL guide to change the extension from .m4a to .m4r, delete the 30 second song from your library, and re-import the 30 second song with the .m4r extension on your desktop, and it gives you the ringtone free in your library

  55. nanito says:

    everytime i wanna download something
    a new page open nd i cant download it
    wt should i do ?? =D

  56. Jesper M says:


  57. Jeff says:

    Thank you so much for this

  58. Nice…
    I’m using it all time.

  59. Michal says:

    Hi, If you are looking for some file extensions, take a peek at file-extensions.org. It is huge file extensions database. Have a nice day:-)

  60. Mrinal Das says:

    Very fine……and also helpful
    I’m using it always……..
    Thank you……..

  61. Josh says:

    Thankyou so much!! i just don’t get why its now hidden in vista!!
    remember guys changing a file type doesn’t change the file so a zip can become a jpeg for transfer on email then you can just change it back :D

  62. sum says:

    tks a lot

  63. Laurel says:

    It was so easy and awesome thank you very much! ^-^

  64. Laurel says:

    i’ll tell my friends!

  65. Victor says:

    Just wondering, so by changing the file extension name could the government still track it then that shows you downloaded it illegally?

  66. Rob says:

    thanks a lot been trying to change file extensions for my ringtones for iphone ;)

  67. fabola says:

    can you just make it easier without having to do this and that??

  68. dolapo says:

    U guys are geniuses. thanx a million

  69. Deann says:


  70. Fr says:

    didnt work.. AGHHH Dx stupid url file T-T youre supposed to be an exe file Dx

  71. Alvin says:

    Can we rename multiple files instead of rename one by one?

  72. Kim says:

    If you have any file extensions that you don’t know, have a look here http://dotwhat.net/

  73. will says:

    wow that does work i passed almost a whole day trying To change files but than this finally worked thank you thank you!!

  74. Duelist26 says:

    I have .wma music files that id like to transfer to my mp3, but when I change the file extension from .wma to .mp3 it doesnt let me play it anywhere. how can I get those wma files to my mp3?

  75. Shireen says:

    Thank youuuuuu

  76. Erica says:

    This helped a great deal. But now I have run into a Chrome Html file problem. It won’t allow me to change the extension…well I can rename it with an mp3 extension but it still says that it is an HTML file and will not play. what should i do now?

  77. devi says:

    how can i change .mpw files to .mpp files..plz help me

  78. me says:

    i have a swf game file and i want a jar file can i change it by renaming it?

  79. Toscano says:

    1.For open Folder Options, click the Start button, click Control Panel, Appearance and Personalization, and then click Folder Options.

    2.Click the View tab and then click Advanced Settings, do one of the following:

    To hide file extensions, select the Hide file extensions for known file types, and then click OK.

    To display file extensions, clear the Hide file extensions for known file types and then click OK.

  80. Carlos says:

    Bué fixe!

  81. ClueLess says:

    Recently every time I try to download a song with right click and Save As.. the name of the file is Preview.mp3, and it’s like 616kb in size…. Wont play and changing the name wont do much since it’s only 616kb.. Anyone know what I am doing wrong??
    Thank you for any help..

  82. Jo says:

    Excellent, this has been bugging me for a while, very clear!

  83. Al says:

    Thank you to you and google! :)

  84. viola says:

    Any way I can stop windows from asking me every time whether I want to change it?

  85. Thang says:

    Thank you so much the instruction guide, made our lives so much easier for beginners in Windows 7. Thank you!

  86. aarsh says:

    i press atl key of right side but does not work

  87. Stacy says:

    Whenever I do this method, it does not work for me. I uncheck the folder and everything but the “Apply to Folders” at the top is greyed in. And when I click apply or OK at the bottom, it doesn’t change anything. The file extension is still hidden. This is very frustrating because I need to know the file extension. Please help!!!

  88. Student says:

    Thank you. I’ve spent far too long trying to find this basic ability. It’s something that is so simple but is not easily accessible. It’s stuff like this that pisses me off about making stuff “fool-proof”.

  89. Riley says:

    Thanks a lot! Now I know how to customize files in Stepmania to make it work… thanks again!

  90. Emmanuel Renaud says:

    You save me a lot of time by telling me and easy way to convert a mp3 to a zip.

    Thank you so much

  91. Vikas says:

    thanks brov

  92. Amby says:

    Thank you very much.
    I was going in circles…

  93. Amy says:

    heyy umm so like i did the top thingy for changing the HTML file into something else but it still wont open in my media player..?? please help…thanks heaps!!! xx

  94. dev says:

    thanks man.i thik that virouse on my computer.it so simple.thank u again

  95. Mark says:

    I edited a system file with Notepad and now Notepad will only save it as a .txt doc. How can I change this file back to a system file with no extension?

  96. movies says:

    Just want to say your article is as astounding. The clarity in your post is simply great and that i could assume you’re knowledgeable in this subject. Well with your permission let me to take hold of your feed to keep updated with approaching post. Thank you a million and please keep up the gratifying work.

  97. begin says:

    thank you very much that ws a useful stuff

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