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How to change a file extension on Windows 10

A file extension is one of the easiest ways to identify a file’s type. If you know what sort of files use a particular extension e.g., MP3 is for audio files, you can decide which app to use to open it. File extensions are set when a file is created and these extensions shouldn’t be changed unless they’ve been set incorrectly.

Changing a file extension is easy but it is important to note that it is not the same as converting a file. File conversion will change a file from one type to another while changing the extension will change how your OS recognizes the file.

Change file extension on Windows 10

You do not need a special app to change the extension of a file.

  1. Open File Explorer and navigate to the file that you want to change the extension for.
  2. Select the file, and then click the name or select the file and tap F2.
  3. The file’s name will be editable. Do not remove the period but remove the three letters after the period.
  4. Enter the new file extension, and tap Enter.
  5. You will see a prompt asking if you really want to change the extension. Click Yes.
  6. The file extension will be changed and the file icon will be updated to reflect the new file type, as recognized by Windows 10.
  7. You can change the extension back the same way.

File extension not visible

If file extensions aren’t visible on your system, you can enable them easily.

  1. Open a File Explorer window.
  2. Go to the View tab.
  3. Look for the ‘File name extensions’ option, and enable/check it.
  4. All files will now display their extension.

Conclusion

Changing the extension of a file won’t corrupt it but in most cases, you will not be able to open it with any app. If you, for example, change the extension of a text file from TXT to MP3, you won’t be able to open the file in an audio file or in Notepad. There will be exceptions; if you change the extension of a batch file from BAT to TXT, you will be able to open it in Notepad since they’re both basic text files. Of course, the batch file with the TXT extension won’t run with Command Prompt. Changing file extensions is sometimes necessary; if a file’s extension has been set incorrectly, you can fix it by editing it directly this way but it is up to you to figure out which is the right extension to use.

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