Having Trouble Opening That .DAT File? 

People often find themselves confused by those three letters following the dot in the names of digital files, namely the .DAT file. Moreover, some people have no idea what you are talking about when you mention a .DAT file, much less when you talk about open DAT file.

by tracy monroe Friday, April 15, 2011
People often find themselves confused by those three letters following the dot in the names of digital files, namely the .DAT file. Moreover, some people have no idea what you are talking about when you mention a .DAT file, much less when you talk about open DAT file. While it might seem that some huge conspiracy is going on with the objective of confusing computer users everywhere, the explanation for the discrepancy is really quite simple.

The three letters after the dot in the names of files on your computer are collectively known as the file-type extension. The file-type extension identifies the file as belonging to a particular program – it was either created by that program or can be opened by that program. In the case of a .DAT file, you need to find the particular software that is able to open DAT file formats.

The reason some people have no idea what a file-type extension even might be is that, in order to simplify things for less advanced computer users, Windows sometimes hides the file-type extensions on all files by default. It does so because most of the time, Windows recognizes the type of files that are on your computer, and instead of having to read those three letters in order for you to identify the file, those files are assigned a unique icon that allows for quick identification. Microsoft Word documents, for example, invariably have an icon that contains a prominent “W”, thus negating the need for visible file extensions. As with most things, however, this is an option and you can choose to make those extensions visible again with a few clicks of your mouse.

In order to be able to see extensions if they are hidden on your computer, you will need to open Windows Explorer, which you can do by simply opening any folder on your computer. The My Documents folder is one that most users should be familiar with, and makes for a good starting point. Hit the “ALT” key on your keyboard, and a menu should appear near the top of the screen. Select the “TOOLS” tab, and then select “Folder options”. A menu should appear with a few tabs, from which you should select the “View” tab, and scroll down until you see the option for “Hide extensions for known file types”. If you are currently unable to view the .DAT file or any other file extensions on your computer, then this option should already be checked. Uncheck the option, and the extensions will become visible.

The .DAT file extension is a short-form for “Data”, and the file itself is simply a repository of data created by a program. The problem with these files, however, is that this format is not particular to any one program, and the file could have been created by any number of different programs. Identifying which program is an almost impossible task if you do not know which program created the file, and the best course of action is to open DAT file using the default “Notepad” text editor located in the Start menu. From there, you will be able to see the code contained within the file and you might be able to piece together which of the programs that are able to open DAT file formats you need to use to open this particular file. Of course, if you are still unsure about how to open DAT file formats, the best thing is to go online and check out websites that offer this information.


If you need to open a .DAT file and you have no idea how to do so, the best place to go for clues and tips on the programs that are able to open DAT file formats is, without a doubt, the DotWhat.net website!

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0    submitted by tracy monroe
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