If I have any single issue with Microsoft Windows, it’s that the default on installation is to hide the file extensions. This single tiny detail has led to more confusion and mistakes than any other individual detail in Windows that I can recall. Unless you can see them, most of you haven’t a clue what kinds of files you have in a lot of your folders. Granted you’re supposed to be able to tell by the icon, but that doesn’t help differentiate the different graphics files. Or when I’m trying to help someone manually install a program and there are FIVE files all called “Setup” in their program’s main folder, who knows which one is actually the setup.exe file! And I’ve had customers and students often send me the wrong version of a file because they can’t see the difference between several files if they’re all named the same.

So, today, I’m going to plead with all of you to go change that default setting so that from this day forward you will be able to see exactly what kind of files you have and avoid any confusion. It’s SO simple to do, I don’t even need to make a video for this one.

  • Open up My Computer (or Computer, if you have Vista)
  • Click on File>Tool Options (or Organize>Folder and Search Options, if you have Vista)
  • Click on the View tab
  • Uncheck the box next to “Hide extensions for known file types
  • Click on OK. You’re done!

    And now… your computer days will be better! Here are a couple of screen shots just to make it clearer…