How to open unknown file extensions in Windows 10

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
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  • Users can identify, run, and also access any unknown file extensions on Windows with the help of a few pieces of software.
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe Acrobat Reader are best equipped to handle any type of document format - check out their features below.
  • Perhaps you're wondering what else can this tool do for you? Feel free to explore our Adobe Acrobat Reader section.
  • Don't be shy to browse our File Opener Hub as well where you can find the best solutions to open any type of file extensions.
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Users can identify, run, and also access any file with unknown file extensions on Windows with the help of a few pieces of software.

 If you’re on a mission to discover the best tool that can help you identify unknown files, then you must not miss out on these products.

How do I open unknown files in Windows 10?

1. Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat PRO DC

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If we’re talking about file formats – and we do not only refer to PDFs here -then, Adobe products are sure to impress you.

From Microsoft Office formats like .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx to Text, Rich Text Format and all the way to rather unusual or very specific app restrained formats such as .wpd for Corel WordPerfect, .xps (XML paper specification) and .dwg, .dwt, .dxf, .dwf, .dst (Autodesk AutoCAD) and everything in between – there is no extension that cannot be handled by these powerful tools.

But the support does not just end there. In the Pro version of the Acrobat, you also have a plethora of 2D, 3D, video, and audio formats to play with and you can easily convert them into editable documents that can be adjusted to your rendering needs.

Get Adobe Acrobat Reader free here

Download Adobe Acrobat PRO DC

2. TrIDNet File Identifier

The program comes in two variants: a piece of downloadable software or an online version.

It can identify a file type from its binary signature by browsing for selecting a file that you need to analyze.

After a short wait, the results will be displayed and the file accessed and compared against pre-existing definitions from the program’s database.

3. Smart File Advisor

Smart File Advisor can easily identify files that have no extension or have no known compatible software. The tool first analyzes various parts of the file content in order to determine which program to use to open it.

⇒ You can download Smart File Advisor from FileFacts.

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4. OpenWith

This program provides users detailed info about file extensions and also links to free software for opening and creating each file type.

It comes with an app that works even when you’re not online. Another great feature is how it can find out the exact software you’ll have to use to access the file after it discovers its type.

⇒ You can download OpenWith from the tool’s official website.

5. FILExt

This is an online tool and one of the best-known for identifying file types. The program includes a large database of file extensions and also includes the software that uses them with a site that features an alphabetical index of 1526 extensions.

You just have to enter the file extension that you’re analyzing into the search box of the program and press the Search button. If it finds the extension in its database, a results page will appear showing the data related to the file.

In the unfortunate case the program does not find the extension in its database, the user will get a link to a page with information on what to do next for more research.

⇒ You can download FILExt from the tool’s official page.

File extensions are used to help us find the aspecific type of file that we need to access — and there are lots of them.

It can sometimes happen that our computer stumbles on a file extension which is unfamiliar to the system and as a result, the PC will not be able to open it. Fortunately, the tools above will help your system identify unrecognized types of files.

Which one are you currently using? Share your experience with us in the comments section below.

FAQ: Learn more about opening different file formats

  • What can open TGA files?
Saved in the raster graphic format, TGA files are used to store digital photos and textures mostly featured in 3D video games. You can open them with a solid image editor like Adobe Photoshop or by using software specifically designed for this purpose like TGA Viewer.
  • How do I open an OMF file?
OMF is an audio file saved in a standardized interchange file format. Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) like Adobe Audition CC (among others) are best suited to open OMF files. Check out a complete list of similar tools in this guide.
  • What is a EMZ file and how do I open it?
EMZs are compressed files that serve as graphic data containers. Microsoft apps (Word, PowerPoint, Visio etc.) should open this type of file easily. Alternatively, you can use Photoshop or a multipurpose file viewer like File Viewer Plus.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May, 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in May 2017 and was revamped and updated in May 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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