There are many different types of files that reside on your computer. So, by knowing how to show file extensions on Windows 10, you can start to identify the different types of files easily in Windows Explorer.
By renaming the extension, you actually are changing the file type. If you change it to the wrong type, you won’t be able to use your file correctly.
How to show all file extensions
1. Open Windows File Explorer
Press and hold the Windows key on your keyboard and tap ‘E’ to open Windows File Explorer. Refer to our other article on how to open Windows Explorer if you get stuck with this.
2. Left-click on the View tab
By click on the view tab along the top of the file explorer, it will reveal a set of different settings.
3. Check the File name extensions checkbox
Check the ‘File name extensions’ checkbox to show the extensions. Left-click your mouse on the checkbox to check or uncheck the option.
Alternative method – Using Folder Options
1. Open the Start Menu
Open the Start Menu by left-clicking on the Start Menu icon. Refer to our article on how to open the Start Menu if you have difficulties.
2. Type ‘file explorer options’ (without quotes)
Type ‘file explorer options’.
3. Left-click on the ‘File Explorer Options’ result
Left-click on the ‘File Explorer Options’ result to open folder settings.
4. Left-click on the ‘View’ tab
Left-click on the view tab which will give you access to a bunch of selectable options.
5. Uncheck ‘Hide extensions for known files types’
Uncheck the option ‘Hide extensions for known files types’ by left-clicking the checkbox if necessary.
Left-click on the ‘OK’ button to save the setting.
Now you will be able to see all of your files’ extensions. This comes in handy when you are trying to deal with files associated with certain programs.
We have created another article about how to change file types by editing the extensions, in order to view more specific steps to change the file type.
Without being able to see the extensions, you won’t be able to tell at first glance what type of file you are dealing with.
I can see why Microsoft may have chosen the approach to turn it off by default. It would prevent people from accidentally removing or incorrectly changing the extension when renaming files.
So, after you change the setting be very careful about how you rename them. There is a secondary precaution Windows has to avoid a catastrophe. A prompt is usually displayed to warn you of the change.
It will only be changed once you confirm it, otherwise, it will revert it back to the original if you choose.
If all that fails, another way would be to press and hold Ctrl and tap ‘Z’ (then release Ctrl) to undo the last change to the renaming of the file or extension.
With anything, having more power to change something, requires more responsibility for the consequence.