Show file extensions on Windows 7

Windows 7-tan

Occasionally when using a Windows computer, one remembers that Windows likes to make the system as opaque to the user as possible, which means hiding the file name extensions when you try to view files with Explorer. This hiding of extensions then leads to fun Adobe Photoshop hijinks when you save any files with a fullstop in them and they use the last portion as the file extension instead, then can’t open the file again later because the extension couldn’t be recognised despite you clearly selecting a file type.

While this happens on Mac too and is just an Adobe Photoshop quirk, it is much easier to fix on my Mac (because I can see file extensions) than on the Windows computer I’ve been using at work.

Luckily, there’s a little solution for that… documented here if you’re still on Windows 7 anyway. Enough of us are still using Windows 7 doggedly enough for it to still be relevant, I think. I’ll cover Windows 8 if I ever get my hands on it.

The steps

Naturally the first thing to do would be to open up Windows Explorer, by clicking one of the shortcuts on your desktop (My Computer, etc), or right clicking on the start menu and finding the appropriate option. I say this because I don’t remember — I almost called the Explorer ‘Finder’.

From there, you can click Organise, in the top left-hand side just under the back and forward buttons and move down to ‘Folder and Search Options’.

Step 1: Organise, Folder and Search Options

A new window will open up called ‘Folder Options’, change to the ‘View’ tab along the top of this new window and go through the provided list of customisations until you get to ‘Hide extensions for known file types’ and uncheck this option, as in the first screenshot above.

Conversely, check it if you don’t want to see file types, though it should be checked by default. Maybe someone’s been playing with your computer.

Step 2: View tab along top. Uncheck 'hide extensions for known file types'

Now you can just go in and change the extension any time you like, even if Adobe Photoshop doesn’t want to open it. The encoding was right, just that Photoshop didn’t recognise the name of the extension…

Funny, I remember this used to be much easier to find in Windows XP, and I don’t recall ever going through this process to ever show extensions on my previous machine to this one, a Toshiba Notebook running Windows 7 where I could see extensions. Given that I still use the ‘Alt’ key to access all menu options, I never really completely got used to Vista or 7, let alone 8.

And as if this post would ever be higher in search results than Microsoft’s post about it, but whatever.

Windows 7-tan wallpaper by