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"Hide Extensions for Known File Types"

    General discussion

  • In my opinion, one of the worst design decisions ever made to Windows is the option to "Hide Extensions for Known File Types" that is turned on by default. In every version of Windows I've ever seen, the option to hide file extensions is turned on by default.

    Why?

    This hiding of file extensions, in my opinion, is one of the worst Windows design decisions ever made. Whenever I install Windows or buy a new PC, one of the first things I do to the computer is to go in and turn off "Hide Extensions for Known File Types." Windows 8 improves on this problem by having a "Show File Types" check box in the Ribbon, but it is still a mistake to have extensions turned off by default. What is the reason for hiding file extensions? Even when I knew virtually nothing about computers, I was never confused by file extensions. It is always frustrating to use a computer where the user has never turned off this option, as it is not always possible to tell what kind of file a file is when the extension is hidden. Please, remove this hiding of file extensions from Windows unless the user specifically turns it on. There is no reason to hide file extensions from the user, and the behavior of Windows and programs made for it suggest that most people run Windows with this feature turned off.

    I once read a review of Office 2007 where the user claimed that they would e-mail other people Microsoft Word documents that didn't work properly on other computers, despite the fact that they were regular Word documents. I eventually figured out the reason for this. Windows hid the files' extensions! Hiding file extensions by default has never helped Windows usability, and in my experience, can only cause problems. Please, stop hiding file extensions from the user, as there is simply no reason to.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 7:22 PM

All replies

  • What is the reason for hiding file extensions?

    One reason - when people rename a file they could also delete the extension, then the file won't open correctly. If they don't know the extension (and don't know how to do "undo rename") they can have problems.

    Also, some prefer them to be hidden.

     

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 7:59 PM
  • One reason - when people rename a file they could also delete the extension, then the file won't open correctly. If they don't know the extension (and don't know how to do "undo rename") they can have problems.

    Renaming file extensions? Do people really have this problem? Even when I was younger and knew almost nothing about computers, I knew better than to mess with a file extension.
    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 8:27 PM
  • Renaming file extensions? Do people really have this problem? Even when I was younger and knew almost nothing about computers, I knew better than to mess with a file extension.

    Some people who use computers but know little about them don't even know what a file extension is, or what extensions are associated with each program.

    It just depends on how well you understand what you are doing.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2011 9:16 PM
  • The file extension is no longer selected by default when Windows 7 / Vista rename a file, so I think it's high time MS turned off the setting by default. Because the extension is not selected when renaming, the chances of the file getting its extension changed and unable to be opened by very low.
    Thursday, October 06, 2011 6:27 AM