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File Extensions, Registered Viewers, Changing File Associations

About File Extensions and Registered Viewers

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Internet Family Fun Home > Internet Help > File Extensions, Registered Viewers, Changing File Associations > About File Extensions and Registered Viewers

Every computer file has a file extension. This way, your computer will know which program to use to open the file. Sometimes though, when you get a file in email or download a file and try to open it, you will get a window that asks what program to use to open the file. This happens because you don't have a file association. Not having a file association just means that you don't have a program registered to open a file or you may not have a program that is capable of opening that type of file. Also, after installing a new program, that program may take over opening a file. The good news - fixing this is simple!

Common File Extensions Used Online
First let's look at some common file extentions. A file extention is the couple letters (usually 3) that come after the period in the file name. For example: "picture.jpg" or "filename.exe".

Common File Extensions On The Internet
jpg - Picture
jpeg - Picture
bmp - Picture
gif - Picture or animation
exe - Executable Program
htm - html document (web page)
html - html document (web page)
zip - File that is compressed with Winzip

These are just a few of many file formats that are available. A complete list of file extensions are available here.

About Programs and File Extensions
Programs can only open certain files. If the program is not designed to open a gif file then it will not.

A registered viewer is the default program that will automatically start and open the file when the file is clicked on. (You can change this easily)

During software installation a program may make itself the registered viewer of certain files.

Even though a program is not the registered viewer, it can still open certain files but the file must be opened with the program that you want to use.

You may not be able to open some files because you don't have a program that will handle the file. (Good News - Many programs don't have to be purchased - you can get free file viewers)

System files (such as dll files) are not meant to be opened by the end user.

Now that you understand what file extentions are, what registered viewers are, let's talk changing file associations.

NEXT... Changing File Associations
Page 1 - Understanding File Extensions and Registered Viewers,
Page 2 - Changing File Associations
Page 3 - Opening Files With Free Viewers When You Don't Have A Program For the File

More Filing System Help
Your Computer's Filing System
File Sizes Explained

More Internet Help

Print Part of a Page Basic Copy and Paste Advanced Copy and Paste Keyboard Shortcuts
Speed Up a Slow Computer File Sizes Explained How to Drag and Drop Files Allow Pop Ups
Acronyms Check Your Email Away From Home How to Determine if it is a Secure Server Find Out Who Owns a Website
Secure Passwords Customize Your Desktop Computer Filing Systems File Extensions, Registered Viewers, Changing File Associations
Secure Your Wireless Access Point Home Computer Security Free File Viewers That Convert Documents Such As DOCX, DOC, ODT Portable Applications for Your Flash Drive
Create Characters That Aren't On Your Keyboard Such As The Copyright Symbol Guide to Outlook Express Protect Yourself from Spyware Auto Complete With Internet Explorer
Change The Size of the Text That View on Your Screen How Much RAM Do You Have? System Requirements How to Change Your Resolution
How to Legally Hack
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