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Don't hide file extensions by default in Windows Explorer

    Question

  • (Didn't mean to post this as a question).

    With the last couple of releases of the Windows Operating system you have hidden file extensions of known file types by default in Windows Explorer.

    This is a huge security risk.  Virus are spread easily when file extensions are hidden.

    Example:  Someone receives an email with the following file name:   PICTURE.JPG.EXE   -  When file extensions are hidden the file name will appear as PICTURE.JPG the .EXE will be hidden.  So the user thinks its a harmless .JPG picture not realizing its a disguised executable file which will install a virus\trojan\spyware.

    Plus I'm tired of receiving documents with names such as DATA.TXT.TXT because the user doesn't realize the extension is already there, but just can't see it because its hidden.

    So please show ALL file extensions by default.


    Monday, April 06, 2009 7:59 PM

Answers

  • Hi JG-EDI

    You can make the Windows 7 Product Team aware of your request or thoughts by posting to our official feedback thread.

    Have Comments about Windows 7 Beta Part 2?

    All of the posts in that thread are collected, periodically by the Forum Owners and sent directly to the Windows 7 Product Team.

    Just click the Reply Button in the first post on that thread and post your comments.


    Thank You for testing Windows 7 Beta


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Monday, April 06, 2009 10:02 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi JG-EDI

    You can make the Windows 7 Product Team aware of your request or thoughts by posting to our official feedback thread.

    Have Comments about Windows 7 Beta Part 2?

    All of the posts in that thread are collected, periodically by the Forum Owners and sent directly to the Windows 7 Product Team.

    Just click the Reply Button in the first post on that thread and post your comments.


    Thank You for testing Windows 7 Beta


    Ronnie Vernon MVP
    Monday, April 06, 2009 10:02 PM
    Moderator
  • I can only support this.
    Everyone needs to see how a file or folder is actually named. Even the people who MS thinks that must be protected by not showing them everything.
    Its much more easy to explain "You give the file a nname and then yozu see that name displayed." than "You give the file an name and then sometimes you see it, somtimes only a part of it."

    Another thing that goes in the same direction:
    I run the Beta in German.
    I have two Folders named "c:\Programme" showing in Explorer!!
    One is really called Programme, the other one is actually called Program Files.

    You can't see which one is which. Only in Properties / Network you see the real name.
    Not even in Properties / General.
    Tuesday, April 07, 2009 12:52 AM
  • I second this. It is a small but recurring nuisance that everytime I log on to a new PC I have to switch file extensions on. File names are easier to distinguish with extension on. I don't know why Microsoft thinks hidden file extension are "user friendlier" while the opposite is true.
    Tuesday, April 07, 2009 12:47 PM
  • Users don't need to see file extensions. A combination of file names and icons are sufficient in most cases but having two files named with the same name that use similar icons makes things slightly confusing. In my opinion file extentions aren't pleasing aethetically and most users don't understand them. Those of us that are savvy enough to understand them and prefer they be visible can turn them on easily.

    And..

    A file called image.jpg.exe shows as...

    image.jpg.exe with file extensions shown

    or...

    image.jpg with extensions shown.

    So, you should still be able to smell something fishy if someone is try to double-extension you.

    Thursday, April 09, 2009 7:35 AM
  • A file called image.jpg.exe shows as...

    image.jpg.exe with file extensions shown

    or...

    image.jpg with extensions shown.


    Euh... You lost me there.
    Thursday, April 09, 2009 8:15 AM
  • A file called image.jpg.exe shows as...

    image.jpg.exe with file extensions shown

    or...

    image.jpg with extensions shown.


    Euh... You lost me there.

    Like, if you're used to not seeing extensions, seeing one should/would/could make you suspicious.

    Still, I'm used to file extensions being visible (for many many years) and actually (it's kinda weird really) I think it looks better when they're visible ^^
    • Edited by Kristaps. _ Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:21 PM quoted
    Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:20 PM
  • Users don't need to see file extensions. A combination of file names and icons are sufficient in most cases but having two files named with the same name that use similar icons makes things slightly confusing. In my opinion file extentions aren't pleasing aethetically and most users don't understand them. Those of us that are savvy enough to understand them and prefer they be visible  can turn them on easily.

    And..

    A file called image.jpg.exe shows as...

    image.jpg.exe with file extensions shown

    or...

    image.jpg with extensions shown.

    So, you should still be able to smell something fishy if someone is try to double-extension you.

    I agree with you that extensions are a bit ugly, often detract from actual name and so on. I appreciate that seeing or not seeing the extension is an option, unlike many other things MS considers themselves judge and jury of. That being said, it is a PITA to live w/o them and rely on icons, descriptors etc. But that's me.

    You are also correct that if you disable extensions yet do see one, something is not right. HOWEVER. MS is king of inconsistency and to be frank, I can't bank on something showing or not showing just because I asked the system to do so. I ask the system to show me hidden files and it turns out there are many of those MS in their childish persistence still hides from me; I log in as administrator but can't access cetrain administrative tasks/areas; filetype icons get messed up; The list goes on and on. So if I suddenly see image.jpg in my attachments in say Outlook, it could be a sneak, or it could be that MS decided to show the extension regardless of my preference. You just can't be certain with this lot and I'll sooner be dead then actually trust them with anything.

    And so I agree with JG-EDI that hiding them by default is really a bad practice. Power users mostly prefer them, and casual ones are used to them. I've been servicing computers for many years and not once have I heard someone complain about seeing extensions. It is a cute option but it would be a better one to have the user, casual or otherwise make a conscious decision about this.
    Thursday, April 09, 2009 11:30 PM
  • This is not an solution since amputating file names is a low quality computing but as a workaround V-lite a setup automation program has a tweak to enable file extensions. Also, I think there is a key in the registry at explorer that enables file extensions that you could add to an answer file.

    Monday, April 13, 2009 3:48 PM
  • I have an idea about this: why not show the extensions by default, but make them gray , so that those who want to, can see them, but they don't make to see the filename difficult or smth.
    Monday, April 13, 2009 4:28 PM
  • I've just gotten of the hospital after a years stay. Where are the file extenions for Windows Explorer in Windows 7? I'd agree with the users on this thread btw.
    Renee
    Saturday, July 25, 2009 2:43 PM
  • I have an idea about this: why not show the extensions by default, but make them gray , so that those who want to, can see them, but they don't make to see the filename difficult or smth.
    I really like this idea. Kind of like what IE does with the address bar (which is pretty slick). Especially since when renaming files only the name portion is selected automatically, and there is a warning about changing extensions.

    If extensions are part of the filename, and Windows is going to use extensions as the method to determine a file's type, and everywhere else the user deals with those files (browser, mail, etc) the extension is shown; I say either embrace them or get rid of them.
    Sunday, July 26, 2009 3:52 AM
  • "Extension" is an unfornate term because an extension IS part of a files name. The only people who do not care about the extension seem to be lay people and darn it, it won't harm any one to learn what filenames are about. It's not thar complicated. It just isn't.

    Personally, I think gray let's the off too easily. I guess you can tell, I'm all for someone with a computer knowing something larger than "How do you spell you name."

    Renee
    Sunday, July 26, 2009 4:08 AM
  • I second this. It is a small but recurring nuisance that everytime I log on to a new PC I have to switch file extensions on. File names are easier to distinguish with extension on. I don't know why Microsoft thinks hidden file extension are "user friendlier" while the opposite is true.
    This is because Microsoft likes icons and thinks you should know the difference between two different files of the same name by their icon.  And this from the company who just gave us a Show Desktop button with no  icon at all - and moved it to the right side of the screen.
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 12:39 AM
  • What about the case where you have picture.jpg, picture.png, picture.bmp, and picture.gif?  How do you tell them apart with the icon?

    Not that we're going to solve this issue in this form - the problem has been known to Microsoft since Windows 95 - but the OP is absolutely correct.  This is a security risk that has been oft exploited.  There's just no good reason to continue this practice other than Microsoft's urge to drive users away from disks, folders, and files and into libraries and documents.
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 12:41 AM
  • Microsoft is retreating from user perceived complexity. We can't have complexity in this world. My god....what would the world think of next. Well, there's the chance that profits would go down!
    Renee
    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 1:43 AM
  • Let's go back to why file extensions exist in the first place.  They exist to quickly identify the type of data "probably" stored in the file.  Like everything else, file extensions exist because we are lazy.  A short file extension is very exact, two file extensions are easily compared.  Pictures, otoh, are fraught with ambiguity, both in comparison and meaning.  Is it really so hard to teach someone a file extension?  It's sort of like a last name.  Comm'on MS...re-enable extensions by default. 
    Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:08 PM
  • Hey! It´s right, people! File extensions are something terrible! The user don´t need to see it!

    Maybe the next step is to remove the free space in explorer, we don´t need it too.. Hey, wait, THEY ALREADY REMOVED IT TOO!

    Ok, so, we have no file sizes, no file extensions... I don´t understand why we still have FILES. Maybe we should move to someting simpler? Maybe we should stop using computers and go back to calculators... they were much better!! No file extensions nor sizes to worry about.


    ok, no joking now.. stop messing with Windows Explorer, please. Turn Extensions on by default, show file sizes, stop hidding folder.jpg and albumartsmall... stop hiding all the things from users. It is not helping. In fact, the users are becoming more and more lazy and dumb. More or less the same way explorer is doing too.
    Thursday, August 27, 2009 7:26 PM
  • Renne Culver, please, can you read my ENTIRE post?

    I was trying to be sarcastic. Maybe sarcasm don´t fit well in a word´s only enviroment.

    OF COURSE File Extesions are useful. Of course I want them to be shown by default. I´m not lazy, I WANT it. and It is only ONE of the annoying things that Windows Explorer is hiding that I want back.

    I want file extensions, file sizes, Info about more than 15 selected files, the total amount of space used by files in the atual list of files. There is a LOT of things the user can´t see anymore. Im glad at least the file extensions we can put back. But for the other things, like the free space in status bar / details pane, there is NO WAY.
    Friday, August 28, 2009 11:29 AM
  • I got that about 2 seconds after my post. My apologies.
    Renee
    Friday, August 28, 2009 7:53 PM
  • Well. it already begun with it's Release To Manufacturing. It's supposed to hit the streets on Oct 22nd.
    Renee
    Friday, August 28, 2009 8:17 PM
  • To finish Renee's thought: ng.

    And general availability will be Oct, 22, it should be at store shelves, onlines and everywhere else by then.
    Friday, August 28, 2009 8:19 PM
  • My computer is unusable if file extensions are hidden. Possibly a housewife would prefere extensions hidden from view.
    On the other hand renaming files is made easy since now the extension is not selected with the entire file name.

    Friday, August 28, 2009 8:36 PM

  • Maybe you would like to submit that as feedback last January

    derosnec, Maye you could stop posting useless comments. Better late than never.
    Friday, August 28, 2009 8:55 PM
  • I have no Idea what your talking about.

    Friday, August 28, 2009 9:25 PM
  • A filename, without an extension is incomplete.
    Renee
    Friday, August 28, 2009 9:26 PM
  • A filename, without an extension is incomplete.
    Renee

    Now we are back on topic, yea. Not only should it be default to show file extensions but the option to hide them should be removed as well. Another thing you don't want to do is accidently launch something that looked like a folder with a custom icon but instead was a virus with a hidden extension. 
    Friday, August 28, 2009 9:33 PM
  • There's no need to show the .url file extension because it's an internet shortcut and self compiles. 
    Saturday, August 29, 2009 3:36 PM