What's That File? An Introduction to File Extensions


Written by HuffPaxton Friday, 18 June 2010 16:11

In an effort to be "user-friendly," Windows (and perhaps some other operating systems) hides the most important part of a file name from new computer users: the extension. Okay - we're assuming that the reasoning behind hiding extensions is a "user-friendly" one because we just can't come up with any other reason for hiding them. No harm could ever come from seeing an extension, but plenty could be learned from it. Fortunately you have this article to guide you through some of the most common extensions that you'll run into. But before you can see file extensions, you need to turn them on. From Windows Explorer, click on the "Tools" menu, and select "File Options." Click the "View" tab and then uncheck the box next to "Hide file extensions for known file types." Click "OK" and you'll notice that the files in Windows Explorer show a dot and group of three letters after their names. That dot and group of three letters is known as an "extension," and the extension explains what kind of file it is. A file could be a plain text file, an image, a sound, a video, or program. But without seeing the extension, you wouldn't know it unless you double-clicked on it. The following list defines some of the most common extensions that you'll find on your computer. .au - This extension indicates a sound file. Most sound players will load up and play this kind of file. .art - This extension indicates an image file that was compressed with AOL (America Online) technology. Both Internet Explorer and the AOL service software can display this kind of file, however if you don't have AOL installed on your system, Internet Explorer will display it. .avi - This extension indicates a video file playable by most multimedia viewers including Microsoft's Media Player. .bmp - This extension indicates another image file that might have originated from Windows Paint program. .dll - This extension indicates a Dynamic Link Library which may contain additional programming code for software. Many different programs often share Dynamic Link Libraries and you'll find a bunch of them in the Windows/System directory (but don't ever delete them)! .exe - This extension indicates a program or an application like Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer, or Outlook Express. Use extreme caution when downloading .exe files from the Internet since malicious programmers like to hide viruses in these types of files. .gif - This extension indicates another image file and it stands for "Graphics Interchange Format." .Gif files are often smaller than .bmp files (described earlier) and they're commonly found on Internet web pages. .jpg - This extension indicates yet another image file and it stands for "Joint Photographers Experts Group." Like the .gif file, it's commonly found on Internet web pages, however it's much smaller than both the .gif image and the .bmp image. .mid - This extension indicates a sound file created with a Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Windows Media Player will open and run these files, however they don't sound like normal .wav or .mp3 files (described later). .Mid files are designed to product synthetic sounds using a computer's sound card. .mp3 - This extension indicates a sound file that authentically reproduces voice and/or music. Windows Media Player will open and run this kind of file. .scr - This extension indicates a screen saver file. .sit - This extension indicates a Macintosh archive StuffIt file. They will not open on a Windows system without a special utility. .ttf - This extension indicates a font especially designed for use on a Windows system. It stands for "True Type Font." .txt - This extension indicates a plain text file that can be opened with Notepad. .wav - This extension indicates a sound file that like the .mp3 file, can be opened with Windows Media Player or Windows Sound Recorder. .Wav files are much larger than .mp3 files. .zip - This extension indicates a Windows archive WinZip file. They will not open on a Macintosh system without a special utility.

Understanding Compression What It Is and What's Involved


Written by HuffPaxton Friday, 18 June 2010 16:11

Downloading files from the Internet has always been one of the most popular activities on the Internet - third to sending email and browsing the web. We download files from software libraries, ftp directories, YouTube and Google Video, MP3 sites, and we download files sent to us as email attachments. Being so popular an activity, it's imperative that you compress the files destined for another computer. File compression combines a number of different files into one file, and it can also significantly reduce a very large file to a smaller one. As a result, the transmission of a compressed file across the Internet is faster and smoother. This article looks at compressed files a little closer and it describes how to compress and decompress them using two of the most popular archiving programs. Identifying Compressed Files Most files are compressed in .zip format (if you're using Windows) or .sit format (if you're using a Mac). The two most popular software programs used to compress and decompress files are Winzip and StuffIt respectively. There are other programs that do the same thing and there are even programs that can compress and decompress files for both the Windows and the Mac system. However since Winzip and StuffIt are the most popular, we will assume you will use either one to compress and decompress your own files. If you download a compressed file from a website or file library that ends in an .exe extension, take note that although the file is compressed, it's typically a file that will install a program onto a computer. .Zip or .Sit files don't install software - they merely archive a collection of them into one, or they significantly reduce the size of a larger one. Decompressing Files Assuming that you have Winzip or StuffIt installed on your computer, you can access the files archived inside a .zip or .sit file by simply double-clicking the archive (a file ending in a .zip or .sit extension). Double-clicking one of these kinds of files will open up a window that displays the contents of the archive. In most cases, you can double click a file inside this window to use it, or you can select it and drag the file to a folder to view later. Depending on how you elected to install Winzip or StuffIt, you may be able to right-click a .zip or .sit file and have the program extract its contents into a new folder for you. Compressing Files When you want to upload a file or email a collection of files to a friend, it's best to archive it as a .zip or .sit file first. This will decrease the time it takes for your computer to send it elsewhere, and it will also decrease the time it takes for someone else to download it. To create your own .zip or .sit file, you can select a single file or a group of files from within Explorer, and right-click the selection. Again, depending on how you installed Winzip or StuffIt, you can click the "Add to Zip" or "Add to Sit" option and have these programs automatically archive the file(s) into one. Some files compress better than others and in some instances, you may not notice that much of a difference. The files that compress the best are images, documents, and multimedia files. Executable files (files that end in an .exe extension) don't compress that well, however when they're archived with a sizable number of other files, they compress rather well. Go figure!

How to get perfectly clean uninstall


Last Updated on Friday, 02 April 2010 21:50 Written by webguru Friday, 02 April 2010 21:47

Uninstalling a Windows application leaves multiple traces such as abandoned registry keys, configuration files and shared libraries that are no longer used by any application. When you are looking for a perfect solution to your problem, you are typically downloading and testing dozens of different applications distributed on the try-before-you-buy basis. After you complete your search, you'll decide on just one application, and will want to remove the other products you've tested. But do you realize how much garbage they leave behind even after being 'completely' uninstalled?

If you install a comprehensive suite created by a big-name company, you're getting the best quality software that surely knows how to behave and how to clean up after itself, right? Wrong! Many if not all products leave behind them multiple traces that are more than likely to make your computer behave odd, or even lead to problems that are impossible to predict and hard to resolve.

Want examples? How about a firewall that forgets to remove a system-level driver that filters IP packets? After uninstalling the product, the driver just sits there, doing nothing except slowing down the performance of your PC. Try another one of those firewalls and stack an extra system-level driver on top, and you'll get connectivity problems that are very hard to resolve if you're not an experienced system administrator.

Did you use any tools to make backups of your CDs and DVDs? There's a bunch of tools on the market that shamelessly leave behind the drivers they use to access the disks directly, and, let's nail it, circumvent their copy protection. Each of these drivers slows down access to optical disks and makes reads and writes less stable. You might get many coasters just because of these extra links in the driver chain.

Simple utilities created by small companies and independent software vendors are very likely to leave traces behind in many places on your computer. Being time-limited by their definition, they try to hide information about their installation date and usage in obscure places, making it deliberately difficult to trace and clean up. There's nothing wrong with protecting intellectual property, but what if you test a bunch of applications, and decide on a single app to do the job? Do you really have to bring all the garbage in house in order to buy just one tool?

If you start thinking that the only way to keep your computer clean is by not installing anything on it, think again! There's a great solution to these kind of problems made by ChemTable. Reg Organizer helps you clean sweep your computer and keeps it in pristine clean condition by removing any traces left behind after you uninstall a product.

It works simply, quietly, and with no magic. Reg Organizer makes snapshots of your system before you install an application and immediately after. Comparing the two snapshots discovers all changes that were made to the files on your hard drives and Windows Registry settings. Uninstalling an application in Reg Organizer sweeps your computer pristine clean, allowing for no traces to be left behind on the PC and effectively making it the way it was before you installed the application.

No more abandoned files, no hidden registry settings, and no quirky drivers to harm your PC performance! With Reg Organizer you can try as many tools, utilities and packages as you please without slowing down your PC or littering its hard disk.

Are you a Reg Organizer user already? Open Reg Organizer, open the "Mode" menu, and select "Application Uninstall". From there you will be able to remove applications and all of their files, registry settings, and other traces, effectively restoring your computer into the state it was in before installing the program.


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