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January 6, 2012

What the Hell is That File?

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

It probably doesn’t happen as often any more, but occasionally computer users enjoy playing the game, What the Hell is That File? The results can be hilarious.

Most users probably never play the game. That’s because most users don’t really know what a file is anyway. Sure, some might. Some people might even know what a folder is. And if they do, then they may be too timid or reluctant to go spelunking through their storage system’s folder structure to engage in play.

Basically the game goes like this:

You open a folder. You look around. You see a file that has a unique name. You double click to open that file.

In most cases, double-clicking probably does nothing. In other cases, you may see a pop-up asking you to choose which program to use to view the file. (My advice: Close the window and move on.) Or the file may open in a conventional program, revealing its contents.

I don’t really play What the Hell is That File? often. When I do, I venture off to the folder that contains the operating system or which contains programs or utilities.

The program filenames are intriguing. In fact, I’ve discovered a few of the interesting tricks and tips in my book simply by plowing through the Windows or Windows\System folders. That’s how I discovered the recovery disk utility written about in my Troubleshooting & Maintenance book.

Some programs, especially in Windows, are for the operating system only. Despite their tempting names, opening them does nothing.

Well, I hope they do nothing.

Even so, I generally restart my computer when I go file-exploring.

One of the advantages of exploring a Unix computer is that many of the weirdo files you find have been documented. In fact, there’s probably a Wikipedia entry for the program. But in Windows, it’s pretty haphazard as to what a file really does or how it’s used.

Then again, if you’re really so bored that you’re playing the What the Hell is That File? game, you’d probably better spend your time looking through your own files, archiving stuff you might want to keep, deleting stuff you don’t need, and going through more file organization just to keep your sanity.

6 Comments

  1. My last round of ‘What the hell is that file’ glitched Windows into opening EVERY file in Notepad. Music, videos, executables, pictures, all open in notepad and give me random gobbledygook. It turns out that this was a common glitch and I hope Microsoft fixed by now.

    Comment by gamerguy473 — January 6, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  2. Maybe it wasn’t a glitch. Maybe that’s what the file was supposed to do?

    Comment by admin — January 6, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  3. That’s what I was thinking, it was some obscure file extension that I can’t remember (I just remember that its used by some obscure freeware to display charts) but I didn’t double click it, I right clicked and did Sent To > Notepad. Still baffles me to this day.

    Comment by gamerguy473 — January 6, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  4. Not so much What the Hell is That File? as where the hell is that cookie (?) I get warnings from AVG that some web page is trying to download a cookie but when I got to:
    C:\Documents and Settings\Patton\Cookies
    it’s not there ‘where the is it’ ??
    I’m guessing Windows in its wisdom has another location for them that is hidden. Where is it?
    Glenn

    Comment by glennp — January 9, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

  5. Did the cookie download? Some cookies are “session cookies,” which disappear when you leave the web page or close the browser window.

    Comment by admin — January 9, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

  6. Session Cookies interesting, that could be the reason.

    Comment by glennp — January 9, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

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