How to Change the Extension of a File in Windows


Every once in a while it’s necessary to rename a file’s extension. I change file extensions mostly to make .exe files into .zip files. Sometimes a file has no extension, but it needs one. Some people like to add the .old second extension to an old version of a file. Reasons vary.

I already wrote about this topic in an earlier post. There I mentioned the F2 keyboard shortcut to renaming files and the rename command.

Windows Explorer — Folder options

Windows Explorer — Folder options

But how to rename a file’s extension when the extension is not visible in Windows Explorer?

This is a problem that happens quite a lot.

Yet, the solution is very simple.

Launch Windows Explorer (Win+E).

Go to Organize > Folder Options.

Select the View tab of the Folder Options window.

Find the Hide extensions for known file types option and untick the box next to it.

Then click Apply and OK.


Hide extensions for known file types

This way a hidden extension suddenly becomes visible.


Hidden vs visible file extensions

And you are able to change it using the F2 keyboard shortcut, for example.

Once you make the necessary changes to the extension and press Enter, you might encounter the following warning:


Change file extension

Click Yes to make the pop up warning go away.

If you want to revert back to hiding the extensions of known file types, go back to Windows Explorer’s (Win+E) Organize > Folder Options, tick the box next to the Hide extensions for known file types option, and click Apply and OK.

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