ICONS, FILES AND FILE EXTENTS
HOW YOUR COMPUTER RECOGNIZES PROGRAMS AND DATA
February 16, 2005 - by Carl Scherer
From earliest times home computer
files had a three character tag attached to file name, e.g. letter.txt.
The .txt tag is the file extension.
Why do we have this? It identifies the file type - .txt is a text
file. To further the filing cabinet analogy of computer files to paper system this would
be similar to colour coding filing folders or tagging letters to indicate the type of
information they contain. Extents cause your operating system to take certain actions - a
.com file (command) or an .exe (execute) file are programs, other codes are used by your
word processor or email program etc.
The extension that is associated with your file is determined by the programmer who writes
the code. File types may be 'standard' like .jpg, a picture format.
How many extensions are there? Just use Goggle and
search 'file extensions'.
If you do not see 'extents' in windows explorer on your computer, it is because Windows
has already "registered" it and Windows default does not show the extent for any
registered types. To see the extents go to Tool>Folder Options> View
and 'unclick' the "hide extensions for known file
types" button. Remember to 'apply' the change. From
then on you will see the extents associated with your files. On the 'view'
button click 'details' to see the file sizes with the names.
If you encounter a file type that windows does not recognize, it will ask you what program
you want to use to view your data.
Shortcuts and Icons.
A shortcut is simply a way to run a program without
going through the:
start> programs> manufactures name> program selection. Instead
you simply click on the shortcut. The shortcut is designated by an icon. You can create a
shortcut by right clicking on an executable program then clicking on the 'create shortcut'
bar. The resultant shortcut can be dragged to the desktop.
If you don't like the little picture (icon) associated with your new shortcut - you can
change it by right clicking on the icon, then properties, and
then change icon. You can then select from a display of available icons
for your use or make your own. There are programs that allow you to make icons but its
easy to use a program like Irfanview. Select your favourite picture and save it somewhere
as type .ico. Go through the change process, select browse and find your own icon and
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