Have you ever encountered a file extension that you did not know, and that you could not open with any program that you had installed on your computer system? While you could fire up your browser to search for information about that file extension, you may sometimes be in a situation where this is not feasible at all, or not desired.
Enter FileTypeID, a free program for the Windows operating system that you can use to identify file extensions. The program is based on the file identifier trID, which we have reviewed back in 2008 for the first time here on Ghacks.
You can start the portable program right after you have downloaded and unpacked it on your local system. Files are identified by dragging and dropping them into the program interface, or by using the built-in file browser. A click on analyze afterwards scans the file and displays the matches.
Depending on the file and its extension, you may get one or multiple possible matches. A percentage value highlights the likelihood of a match, followed by the files extension and type. This works for files without extension as well, which you can analyze with FileTypeID as well.
If you are analyzing a file without extension, this analysis may be all that you need to start working with the file. If you already know the extension, you won't get too many useful information out of using the program. It may still aid you by displaying the file type next to the extension, but your next step is nevertheless a search for a compatible program on the Internet.
You could alternatively use a universal file opener instead which can open dozens of different file types. Check out Can’t Open A File? Try These File Openers.
FileTypeID is most useful when you encounter a file without extension that you want to open. It is less useful if you already know the file type, especially if you have to run a search on the Internet anyway to find a program that supports the file extension.
Update: File Type ID's website is no longer available. You can download the latest working version of the program from third party software portals such as Softpedia instead.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.