You might have often seen a .dat file extension on your computer folders, or might have received such files in email attachments. The problem that most users face with .dat files is that it is an unrecognizable file and does not support any particular Windows program for viewing. The icon displays like a blank file and often confuses all with how to operate such files. So today we will explain you the nature of a DAT file and explain to you how to open DAT file on your PC and laptop.
What is a DAT file?
A DAT file contains generic data that stores specific information for the application that it refers to. DAT format files contain only data related to the type of application and that determines what kind of application should be used to open it. For example, the .avi or .mpeg files signifies that they contain video data and so the video players like Windows Media Player or VLC player are the appropriate applications to open it. In the same way, a .dat extension with .doc or .docx files should be opened with MS Word. Meanwhile, you might consider that changing the file extension from .dat to .docx will open the file by double-clicking it but Windows will not recognize that the file requires being opened with an MS Word program. So it will still ask you to choose which program you want to use to open the file.
Why DAT files are created?
“DAT files” are created by the programs those generate the file with the real extension. But sometimes the program fails to give the proper extension to the file and a generic DAT file is created. This does not harm the file anyway, but it becomes complex to open such files because the user is not aware of opening DAT files.
How to open DAT files?
How do I open a DAT file?
(1) The common method
The first method is to try opening the file with the common way. Try double-clicking the file and check if your system can open it. If after opening the file you find the content readable then you are done. And if your system does not understand then it will display a dialog box asking you to choose a program. Now the main confusion is how would you know which program you should choose? So here you’ll have to guess the task.
- Right-click on the DAT file and go to Properties. Read the file size. If the file size is small like 17KB or 110KB then probably it is a .docx file. Then you should choose the MS Word program to open the file. And if the file size is huge like 600MB or 1GB then it might be a video file for which you’d require choosing a video player like VLC or Windows Media Player.
- If the DAT file appeared from a VCD then you’ll have to run it in a video player program. Try opening it in VLC player
- If you receive the file as an email attachment then you should be very careful about opening it because most unknown email attachments contain So it is recommended to use a trusted anti-virus program to scan the file before opening it or not at all view it.
If any of these methods fail to open DAT file, then let’s come to the next.
(2) Use a Notepad
Double-click on the DAT file and the program Notepad to open it. You will find it full of jumbled languages in the file so you need to carefully have a look at it and find the key application for the file. You will find some hint from the Notepad that will indicate the right application for the file and then you can try opening or read it.
- If you see words like GIF, JPG, JPEG, PNG, JFIF then that’s an image file and try to open it using your photos application.
- If you see words like FLV, MP4, AVI then that’s a video file and try to open it using your video player.
(3) Open with Hex Editor
Hex Editor is a DAT file reader and a Windows freeware that works very much similar to the Notepad. This program can display any file in Hexadecimal form and then you can figure out the parent program like you did from the Notepad in Method 2. Simply download and run the Hex Editor from http://www.chmaas.handshake.de/delphi/freeware/xvi32/xvi32.htm and extract it. Then run the XVI32.exe file and open the .dat file in it. You will probably be able to guess the key application for running the DAT file.
DAT file viewer
Converting with DAT file converter (How to open a DAT file)
If you find these methods working, then you need not require to convert the file to the right file format. Otherwise, there are a number of free file conversion tools that will help your DAT file converted to the real file. You can try the Online-Convert.com (http://www.online-convert.com/file-format/dat) software which can convert any DAT file to MP4, ZIP, MP3, and other file formats. This is a free tool that can convert the file faster by uploading it from your computer or cloud storage. So if you are unable to open a DAT file in a generic way, then this tool with help you convert and run it and this will relieve you from the stress of opening a DAT file manually.
Another free online tool is Winmaildat.com (http://www.winmaildat.com/) that will help you open the impossible DAT files from your computer or those attached to your email. This is a handy tool that provides access to the entire DAT file contents in a simple and easy manner. Simply browse and upload the file from your computer or URL and click Start to begin the conversion process. You can also use the Winmaildat.com app on your Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone if you want to convert a DAT file from your mobile device.
So we hope now you’ll be able to open a DAT file in the simplest way. If you are exhausted trying to run a DAT file yourself, then the simplest way is to convert and then run it to avoid the complications. But it’ll be better if you can learn the process yourself and teach others to prove yourself a technologically skilled person.