Top 4 Ways to Show or Hide File Extension in Windows 10

File extensions on Windows help you identify the type of file and determine its default program. Windows 10 does not display file extensions and hiding file extensions poses a security risk. It is easy to confuse an executable file with a hidden extension and it could be malicious code. To prevent attackers from taking advantage, you can choose to show file extensions in File Explorer.

Well, all of that can be avoided by simply allowing your Windows to show file extensions. We’re going to go through a few ways to quickly show or hide file extensions on Windows 10. So, let’s get started.

1. File Explorer

Probably the easiest way to show or hide file extensions on Windows is to use File Explorer’s ribbon interface. Read on to find out how.

Press Windows key + E to launch File Explorer and switch to the View tab to view file extensions. Now under Show/Hide, check the box that reads Filename Extensions.

Show or hide file extensions in File Explorer

When marked, you will be able to see file extensions at the end of filenames and vice versa.

2. Adjust folder options

Alternatively, you can go the traditional route of using Control Panel to show or hide file extensions on Windows 10. Here’s how.

Step 1: Open the Start menu, type file explorer optionsand press Enter.

Open File Explorer options

2nd step: On the View tab, under Advanced Settings, uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types” to show extensions. Finally, click Apply followed by OK.

File Explorer Options

3. Use Command Prompt

Although the above methods are simple, they only change the file extension preference for the current user. With Command Prompt, you can change file extension settings for each user on your PC if you are logged in with an administrator account. Read on to find out how.

Step 1: Open the Start menu, type command promptand click Run as administrator on your right to open it with administrator rights.

Open command prompt

2nd step: In the console, type the command below and press Enter to display the files with their extensions.

reg add HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced /v HideFileExt /t REG_DWORD /d 0 /f
Show or Hide Extensions with Command Prompt

Similarly, to hide extensions, use the following command.

reg add HKCUSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced /v HideFileExt /t REG_DWORD /d 1 /f

And that’s about it. You can use the commands above to easily show or hide file extensions for each user on your PC.

4. Try Registry Editor

Besides the above methods, you can also show or hide extensions in Windows by editing the Windows Registry.

Before proceeding, it is important to note that the Windows Registry is an integral part of Windows. Changing it without knowing it can lead to serious consequences. So be sure to follow the instructions precisely.

Step 1: Press Windows key + R to launch the Run command. Type regedit in the box and press Enter.

Open Registry Editor

2nd step: Use the address bar at the top to navigate to the next key.

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced
Show or hide extensions with Registry Editor

Step 3: Now double click on HideFileExt on your right. Under Value data, enter 0 if you want to show file extensions or 1 to hide them.

Change file extension value

Once done, restart your PC for the changes to take effect, and file extensions will be shown or hidden.

Bonus: How to Change File Extensions in Windows 10

Besides viewing file extensions, did you know that you can also change a file’s extension in Windows? Well, it’s quite simple to do. Here’s how.

Step 1: Right-click on the file whose extension you want to change and click Rename. Alternatively, you can also press F12 on your keyboard to rename the file.

Rename file

2nd step: Now change the extension of the file by renaming it and hit enter.

For example, to change the extension of an image from .PNG to .JPG, rename the file from FileName.png to FileName.jpg.

Step 3: Windows will warn you that changing the file extension could break the file. Click Yes to confirm.

Change file type on Windows 10

That’s it. You have successfully changed the file type on the image. Now, there are some things to keep in mind. You can only change extensions for certain file types. For example, renaming a Word file to .mp4 will not help you open it in VLC media player.

See the difference

Allowing Windows to show file extensions is a good way to avoid malware and viruses. Until Microsoft decides to show file extensions by default, you can use all the above methods and easily show or hide file extensions.


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Donald E. Hollingsworth