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. 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…

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