How to open unknown file extensions in Windows 10

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
Radu Tyrsina has been a Windows fan ever since he got his first PC, a Pentium III (a monster at that time). For most of the kids of his age, the Internet was an... Read more
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  • It's essential to know how to open unknown file extensions if you want to collaborate with your peers.
  • You can identify, run, and also access any unknown file types in Windows 10 with the help of a few pieces of software.
  • Two excellent tools from Adobe are best equipped to recover unknown file formats.
  • Another tool from our list has an alphabetical index of 1526 extensions that you can open.
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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 for Windows 10.

How do I open unknown files in Windows 10?

Adobe Acrobat Reader and Adobe Acrobat PRO DC

grab Adobe Acrobat

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

These powerful tools open a myriad of file extensions including the more usual Microsoft Office formats like .doc, .docx, .xls, .xlsx, .ppt, .pptx to Text, Rich Text Format.

But they also go all the way to rather unusual or very specific app restrained formats such as .wpd for Corel WordPerfect, .xps and .dwg, .dwt, .dxf, .dwf, .dst (Autodesk AutoCAD) and everything in between.

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.

Adobe Acrobat DC Pro

Adobe Acrobat DC Pro

Adobe Acrobat DC Pro can deal with a lot of file extensions that other software don’t even know about.

Free trialVisit website

TrID 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.

Download TrID File identifier

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.

This small and intelligent too can also notify you about any software updates for the apps installed on your system.

Download Smart File Advisor

Open With

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.

Download Open With


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.

Download FILExt

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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