Vista: Show Extensions for Known File Types

I have never understood why Microsoft thinks it is a good idea to hide extensions for files. Here is how to make Vista show extensions for all file types.


1. Click Start.
2. Select Control Panel.
3. Select Classic View.
4. Double-click Folder Options.
5. Click the View tab.
6. Uncheck the Hide Extensions for Known File Types option.
7. Click the Apply button (at the bottom of the window).
8. Click the Apply to Folders button (at the top of the window).
9. Click OK.

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • John

    “Apply to folders” was greyed out

  • http://DVDfever.co.uk DVDfever

    Hi, this method worked for me, thanks!

    BTW, while “apply to folders” was greyed out, I found ‘apply’ and ‘ok’ worked fine.

    I also didn’t realise I could get the Control Panel back to the Classic View (the Vista way is too confusing) and I also set “Use Windows classic folders”.

    I also use the old-style Start Menu, and I remember altering that in XP from the moment I first used that in mid 2003. They should concentrate on compatability with older programs rather than adding nicities to it.

  • Corinne

    thank you!

  • http://www.canadurl.ca/ CanadURL

    Thanks. This was helpful. I have no idea why a company that has the financial resoures to make thier products more usable missess stuff like this. Extensions should be the default.

  • Simon

    Guys you can change Folder Options from the Organize tab at the top of the folder when it is open, this makes it alot easier than going through the whole control panel scheme and i totaly agree vista was a failure xp much better and they should have kept the same interface in vista

  • http://www.jeffjoneslive.com jeff

    Thank you for writing the article I couldn’t agree more that’s so annoying not to see the extentions not to mention a lot of things with Vista.

  • olly

    thank you :)

  • Anonymous

    They are worried that people will delete the extension while changing the file name
    A better system would be as winscp, that the extensions are shown, but f2 (& slow double-click) highlites the name of the file without highlighting the extension

  • http://www.kayleighlouise.com/ Kayleigh Louise

    Thank you for this, i have no choice but to use windows vista im not a lover of it but its what is with the computer.

  • http://wilwad.deviantart.com/ wilwad

    The reason for hiding the file extension, is cos it makes it easier for people to rename files and not worry about having to remember and add the extension.

    I do understand that, that issue itself was brought up by Windows hiding the file extension in the first place, but too late now…