How To Show/Display File Extensions In Windows?

Windows operating systems like Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 do not show the file extensions by default. File extensions provide information about the file content, data, and associate applications to open files. You can show/display file extensions for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 easily with File Explorers File name extensions setting.

What Is File Extensions?

Files are named in order to identify properly. File names generally have an extension which can consist of 2,3,4 characters in order to identify the file type or content. File extensions are separated from the original file name with a dot. In general 3 characters are the most popular file extension size but 4 characters can be also used for newer versions of the file extensions. Below we will list some popular file extensions.

File TypeFile Extension
Text File.txt
Word File.doc or .docx
Windows Media Audio.wma
Power Power Presentation.ppt or .pptx
Executable File.exe
Microsoft Installer.msi

Why You Should Show File Extensions?

There may be different reasons to show or display file extensions in Windows operating systems. Below we will list some of the reasons to show file extensions.

  • Show the content type of the file.
  • Show the file type versions like .doc or .docx .
  • Prevent running malicious files like document.exe which can be shown like a regular file.
  • Set the default application for specific file extension by displaying it.
  • If the file is not associated with a default application show file type.
  • If the file icon do not shows any preview list the file type.
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Show File Extensions for Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003

Even Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 not supported officially and usage are very low you may need to show file extensions in these old operating systems. Just follow these steps to show or display file extensions for Windows XP, Windows Server 2000, and Windows Server 2003.

  • Open Windows Explorer
  • Click to the Tools menu and then select Folder Options.
  • Find the Folder and search options menu.
  • Click to the View tab.
  • Find the Hide extensions for known file types and un-check this options in order to prevent hiding file extensions and display all file extensions.
  • Last step is to apply this configuration click to OK.

Show File Extensions for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008

File extensions for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2012 can be displayed or shown from the File explorer like below. First we will click to the Organize button on the left upperside of the file explorer. Then select the Folder and search options .

Open folders and Search Options

We will see the following Folder Options configuration window. There we will click to the View tab and find the Hide extensions for known file types configuration and uncheck the checkbox to enable file extensions.

Show File Extensions for Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2016

Windows 8, Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016 use the same configuration steps in order to show or display file extensions. File extensions can be enabled in different ways but the most practical easy one is using the File Explorer.

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Click to the View from the File Explorer tab. There you will see the File name extensions which is not enabled or checked by default. Then check the file name extensions configuration.

After enabling the file extensions the file extensions will be look like below. But keep in mind that the links do not have any extension there will be no extension about them. Below we wan see that Python files has .py extensions.


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