How to Identify Unknown Files on Your Computer

Do you have files in your comouter that do not look familiar? Do you want to know what they are or how to open them? Do you want to delete them but you are not sure if removing them will affect your system? If so, then here is the best thing to do.


  1. Look at the file's extension and look for it in The website has a database of known file types and could probably help you if your file has an extension
  2. Use the linux file utility. If you have a linux based computer or you know someone who has, copy the file and try to identify it with the file utility. The program is easy to use, just type "file " at a console window and see if linux can identify it.
  3. Download a Windows port of the linux file program and use it just like its linux counterpart.
  • Take note that linux commands, like the file command, and filenames are case sensitive.
  • The file command does not actually need a file extension to work properly so you can still use it even if your unknown files do not have those 3 character extensions


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