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How to show file extensions in Windows 10

Can't see the file extensions in File Explorer? Here is how to show them in Windows 10. Learn how to how hidden files and folders as well. It only takes a couple of steps!
Windows 10 Guide: How to Show File Extensions in the File Explorer

If you want to know at a glance, which type of file you are currently working with, all you have to do is customize your Windows 10 to show you the file extensions.

File extensions and hidden files in Windows 10

The whole process is quite simple - it's only a couple of steps!

  1. Show file extensions in Windows 10.
  2. Display all file extensions, even files with known file types.
  3. Show hidden files, folders and drives in Windows 10.

File extensions are useful

It's useful to see the extensions of files you have downloaded from the internet or that you have received as attachments to emails - if you don't recognize a file extension, you can scan it with your security and virus-checking software and make sure it is not malware. Occasionally, Windows won't know what to do with a file, if it doesn't recognize the file extension. Search on file.org for the unknown file extension and see what programs in Windows 10 can open it.

How to show file extensions in Windows 10

If you want to view file extensions in your Windows 10 File Explorer, you only need to take a couple of simple steps.

  1. Right-click on the Windows Start button in the bottom left of your screen.
  2. Find and click on File Explorer from the list of applications.
    Open File Explorer in Windows 10.
    Open File Explorer in Windows 10.
    Once you have opened File Explorer, you are going to see four tabs at the top: File, Home, Share, and View.
  3. Click on the View Tab.
    Click on the View tab in File Explorer.
    Click on the View tab in File Explorer.
  4. Take a closer look at the right section of the ribbon to find and enable the File name extensions checkbox. Once it is ticked, you will be able to see the file name extensions on all files.
    Click on the File name extension checkbox
    Click on the File name extension checkbox.

Display extensions for known file types in Windows 10

The file extensions of known and trusted file types are not displayed by default in Windows 10. And sometimes, simply following the steps above will not be enough to display all file extensions for all file types..

  1. Click on Options at the far right end of the View tab to open a dialog containing the folder configuration options.
    Open the File Explorer folder options.
    Open the File Explorer folder options.
  2. Click on the View tab.
  3. In the Advanced settings section, scroll down until you see to see the setting Hide extensions for known file types. Make sure this is not selected - the checkbox should be empty.
  4. Click on the Apply button and you are all set. You will now be able to see all known file extensions.
    Change the setting to display extensions for known file types in the Folder Options in Windows Explorer
    Change the setting to display extensions for known file types in the Folder Options in Windows Explorer

Show hidden files in Windows 10

Even when you have enabled file extensions on all files, some files may remain hidden. But, you can make Windows 10 display these files too. Showing hidden files and folders is also done through the File Explorer settings. As can be seen in the video on official Microsoft support forums, changing this setting is as easy as showing file extensions.

  1. Open File Explorer, either by following the first step at the top of this article, or click on the File Explorer icon in the Windows taskbar.
    Accessing File Explorer from the taskbar
    Open File Explorer from the Windows 10 taskbar
  2. Click on the View tab.
  3. Make sure the Hidden items checkbox is enabled (ticked). You will then be able to see all of the hidden files and folders on your computer.
    Make sure the the Hidden items checkbox is ticked.
    Make sure the the Hidden items checkbox is ticked.

To always display hidden items

  1. In the View tab in File Explorer, click  Folder Options to open a dialog with additional settings.
  2. In the View tab of the Folder Options dialog, in the Advanced settings section, scroll down to the setting Hidden files and folders, and select the Show hidden files, folders and drives radio button.
  3. Click Apply.
    Select the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option
    Select the Show hidden files, folders, and drives option

Now you know how to show the file extensions in Windows 10 on all files, and also how to show hidden files, folders and drives in Windows 10.

About this guide

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