How to discover a video files correct file extension

by on December 17, 2008

Q: I have a video that has no file extension on it. There is no .mpg or .wmv or anything! Can you help to fix this problem? I am using Microsoft Windows.

A: There are three reasons that might explain why your video’s file extension is missing. Please find solutions for each of these below:

The first possible cause is that Microsoft Windows hides most file extensions by default. To see the file extensions for all files on a Windows XP computer, go My Computer => Tools => Folder Options => View and uncheck Hide extensions for known file types. If you are using Windows Vista, go Computer => Organize => Folder and Search Options => View and uncheck Hide extensions for known file types.

If your video still does not show a file extension, it is likely that either the video never had an extension or the extension was deleted when someone attempted to rename the file. In my opinion, the easiest way to discover the correct file extension for your video file is to download & install a program called VLC. In VLC, go Tools => Codec Information. The resulting information should contain clues to the correct file extension.

Once you have discovered the correct file extension for your video, right-click on the video file, then choose Rename and use your keyboard to add the correct file extension to your video’s filename.

Tip: Oftentimes, you cannot rename a file while a program is accessing it. For example, you may not be able to rename your video while playing it in Windows Media Player.

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