How To Open Unknown File On Your PC [2023]


Everyone knows what PDF and DOC are. But does everyone know the CR2 formats or, for example, BSB? CHIP will show you how to recognize and open any file. Everyone knows what PDF and DOC are. But does everyone know the CR2 formats or, for example, BSB? CHIP will show you how to recognize and open any file. This article gives a guide on how to open unknown files on your PC.

What to open You received an important letter, but the attached file does not open: none of the programs installed on the computer can cope with it. There will be a long and possibly unsuccessful search for an application designed to display such documents. But CHIP comes to the rescue: our tips and utilities included on the DVD are guaranteed to help you open any file.

Riddle: what is it?

A typical situation: a friend sent you a file, but, unfortunately, forgot to tell you which program is capable of opening it. First of all, stop playing hide-and-seek with Windows: under certain configurations, the operating system doesn’t even display the file extension, which makes the analysis even more difficult. Open Explorer (in the “seven” for this you need to activate the top menu by pressing the “Alt” key) and select “Tools | Folder Options (Folder Options) | View”.

Clear the check box in front of the “Hide extensions for known file types” option. Now go back to the unknown document – you should be able to see its extension in File Explorer. If a file has two extensions at once (for example, picture.jpg.exe), delete it immediately: this is how dangerous viruses disguise themselves.

Enter an unfamiliar file extension on the website to find out what program can be used to open it. If the file format is unfamiliar to you, go to the web page. Enter the desired extension in the search bar and click on “Find”. You will receive information about which program can open this file.

However, this service does not indicate the specific version of the required application, and this information is sometimes fundamentally important: it may well happen that, for example, when opening a DOC file in Office 2003, formatting and other information will be lost. In the most difficult cases, you will be able to open documents in programs only of those versions in which they were created.

To avoid problems with a Word document, in Explorer, right-click on it and select “Properties”. On the “Details” tab, you will find the exact information about the version of the program in which the file was saved. There you can also find out other interesting information, such as the author, the date of the last modification, and the templates used in the creation.

Destruction of borders: open any file

Now you have enough information about the file, but you still can’t open it because you either don’t have the right program or its corresponding version. Depending on the extension, one of four types of applications that are on our DVD will help you: viewers are used to viewing images, analyzers provide additional information about the file, universal programs display any document, and converters even allow you to edit these files.


For files created by means of the Office package, Microsoft offers various viewers. For example, the Excel Viewer utility allows you to open tables with the XLS extension, even if you do not have the appropriate spreadsheet. The free Universal Viewer can open documents, images, videos, database records, and more. You can view other files with Universal Viewer.

This program recognizes over 130 file types, including all common image formats, as well as PDF and video. After launching the utility, activate the “Navigation” panel in the top menu “View | Interface | Show navigation bar. Then find your problematic file and click on it in the preview area. If Universal Viewer is familiar with this extension, the document or image will be displayed on the right. If we are talking about system files, shortcuts, or something else of that kind, you will see the hexadecimal code of the file. Experienced users can thus examine the title for links and check if the document is a Trojan.

FileAlyzer, in addition to basic information, displays security settings, hex files, and ADS streams Analyzers.

If the Universal Viewer is unable to display the file, you may be dealing with a container format. This group includes archive files used by packers, such as ZIP or ARC, as well as video formats (MKV).

If you have FileAlyzer installed, right-click on an unknown document and select “Analyze file with FileAlyzer” from the context menu.

As a result, you will get a variety of information about the file, and in some cases this utility also offers a preview function.

If this information does not help you, use the Openwith program, which is available for download at Here you can also conduct an analysis online. After entering the extension (or clicking on an unknown file), you will be provided with a link to a free program that will be able to open the desired document.

Station wagons. Most often, problems arise with the opening of multimedia formats and are associated with the existence of many different codecs. If you do not want to waste time looking for what you need, just use universal programs – for example, VLC media player (available on our DVD). This player is not demanding on computer resources and supports all conceivable audio and video formats.

In the case of graphic files, almost the same universal tool is the free program IrfanView. This compact image viewer handles almost all formats – displays and converts them. After installing IrfanView, you will be able to convert even rare formats such as PCX, LDF, and ECW to common JPEGs and PNGs.

Java utilities work in a similar way. They blur the boundaries between different operating systems and platforms. Often it doesn’t even matter if the program works on cell phones, computers, or game consoles. Java even runs packages from the Linux and Apple worlds on Windows machines. The only condition is that the Java Runtime Environment must be installed on the computer (it can be downloaded for free from

Then you can, also for free, use a huge number of different platform-independent programs that can often help you adapt files for cell phones or smartphones and convert them to the desired format.

Free FLV Converter converts YouTube Flash Video clips to more common video formats Converters.

 If the file still doesn’t open, just convert it. The Free FLV Converter is a freeware program that can convert an FLV video downloaded from YouTube into a common and more convenient format, such as AVI. This will allow you to play the movie in popular programs, including Windows Media Player.

But the opposite is also possible: if you want to publish a vacation video on the Web, simply convert it to Flash Video format.

In the case of video formats, the free Super 2010 utility, which can be downloaded from, will be a good helper. It effectively converts almost all video and audio files and also allows you to quickly export movies to devices such as iPhone, Nintendo DS, or PlayStation 3 with the required encoding options and the desired extension.

Today there are converters for almost any format. If you could not immediately find a suitable program, enter into Google, for example, the request “convert jpg eps” (of course, replacing the extensions with the ones you need). In our case, the search engine returned an Australian site called jpeg2eps ( as a result, offering instant conversion of such files.

Distrustful users do not even need to install the utility on their computers to convert files. This can be done on sites such as It is enough to upload a document and determine what format it needs to be converted to.

Leave your email address so the service can send you the converted file. This service is absolutely free – you just have to put up with watching ads. The service is intended primarily for small documents that need to be converted quickly. In the case of heavy files, such as movies, it is still better to use the program installed on the computer. Also, do not trust the online converter with important documents, such as business correspondence, because no one knows who else will see this information.

Associating files with the right applications

You can manually reassign the association of any file type in Windows 7 in the context menu of Explorer. Double-clicking on a document does not always open the desired application. If files are incorrectly associated with programs in Windows, it may happen that the Thunderbird mail client starts playing a Flash movie, and Word displays the image file. In the XP version, this connection is regulated in the menu “Tools | Folder Options | File Types.

In Vista, you will have to right-click on the desired file in Explorer, select Properties | General | Edit” and specify the required application in the dialog box. The file is now attached to this program. Be careful: if you cancel this link without creating a new one, the file will not open.ExtMan displays file mappings and lets you edit them. Additional help is provided by the free ExtMan utility (on DVD). This little assistant manages file associations so you don’t have to go deep into operating system settings.

The program works even without installation. An additional benefit of ExtMan is that you can see all relationships at a glance and can quickly redistribute or remove matches.

After launch, find the desired extension in the list and click on “Delete extension” – the connection will be deleted. If you want to reconnect, go to “Edit extension | open | Edit” and find the path to the corresponding program. Finally, click on “Save” – ​​your new connection is ready.

A set of special programs

Excel Viewer: Displays tables even if you do not have the Excel spreadsheet from Microsoft Office installed.

Extman: Shows in Windows Vista and 7 the “File Types” tab that was present in XP.

FileAlyzer: Provides more information about a file than Windows.

Free FLV Converter: Converts YouTube videos to common video formats for PCs and smartphones.

IrfanView: An image viewer of various types.

Plugins for IrfanView: Practical add-ons for viewing additional formats.

PDF-Analyzer: Helps to deal with PDF files.

Universal Viewer: Opens files of almost all formats.

VLC media player: Universal in the field of multimedia.

Word viewer: Opens text files even without an office suite.

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