Like Windows Vista, Windows 7 has the annoying habit of hiding file extensions in the explorer. Although, it is done primarily to avoid unnecessary change in file extension or deleting it by amateur users (making the file unreadable); this can be harmful as well.
It is dangerous because some scripts do not hesitate to impersonate common file types for you to run and cause damage to your system. It is, therefore, safer to constantly display all the file extensions, which allows you to know at any time what type of file you are dealing with.
If you are still wondering what a file extension is, then let me explain it quickly. A file extension is a suffix that is added to the file name to identify a format and therefore to associate it with the adapted program (if it is present on the system), for example, a file with the extension .txt (text) will open with notepad (default).
Normally, if you open an explorer (for example, say the documents folder), you will only see the file names and no extension following it. It is kept hidden from people who do not know much about the extension and can or delete it during renaming a file.
Windows 7 Show File Extensions
You can make Windows 7 and Vista always display your file extension by choosing the following option:
- Open an explorer window; by clicking the Start button and then Computer, for example (Click on the "Windows Explorer" icon, which is by default in the taskbar).
- Once the window is open, click on the "Organize" button and click on "Folder and search options."
- In the dialog box that appears ("Folder Options"), open the View tab
- In the Advanced Settings list, clear the Hide file extensions of the known type checkbox (uncheck the box)
- Confirm with OK. From now on, file extensions will always be displayed
They can be made visible through the registry section as well.
The solution with the registry
- Open the registry editor
- Open: "HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced."
- Create (or modify) a new string value and name it "HideFileExt."
- Set it to "0."
When you do not see the extensions, an infected file may seem harmless to you, for example, a simple image (.jpg). Or it can be really an executable file (.exe) or other. By displaying the extensions, you find it easier.
Make sure once the file extensions are visible, not to tamper with them. In case you opt to change the extension, then ensure you maintain the file extension within the same or similar form of files.
For instance, in the event you change the extension of a document file and converted it to an image, you may end up with a file completely unusable! In case you have any doubt, make sure to have a duplicate copy of the initial file to prevent mishandling. It is better to use the visibility of the type to know the file type, particularly when received through an email or an unknown source (to ensure it is not a program that may be a potential virus) rather than changing it unnecessary. You can tamper with it if you have good knowledge of the file types or can seek the help of a veteran.