Usually, you can easily identify a file type by looking at its icon and checking its extension. But when the file extensions are changed, lost and you find a mystery file and want to know what it is, then a simple way to find out is by opening the file in Notepad and getting clues from the first two characters. If you’ll see MZ, then you’ll know that’s a Windows executable. PK is for a zip file, media files contain ID3, while JPG files (images) have 6 cryptic bytes followed by JFIF. But if can’t seem to identify the file based on the two letters, then you will need to download TrIDNet.
TrIDNet is a free tool that is able to identify file types by their content. You won’t need to install it, as you will simply download and unzip the .exe file, then you’ll download its file definitions separately, and after that, they will be unzipped into the same folder (\defs). Then, you will import test files and let the program analyze them and offer the results in a table. If you import a RAR file, then it will be 100 percent recognized as a RAR Archive and it will offer additional information, but if the file is Word DOCX, you will be told that it’s 85.5 percent a “Word Microsoft Office Open XML Format document”, and 14.5 percent a “ZIP compressed archive”.
Mike Williams of BetaNews has tested TrIDNet and he imported Picate.pixate, which was identified as a regular SQLite 3.x database, although it’s a reminiscence of the old Pixate project, while MyData.p2g has been recognized as part of a Power2Go project. TrIDNet didn’t do well with recognizing a SQL dump because it doesn’t have a fixed signature, but when testing an MSI file, the program said it’s a Windows Installer file and it offered the overall type: a generic OLE2/ Multistream Compound File.