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Showing File Extensions

Problem: Windows defaults to hiding file extensions for known file types (known by Windows).

 Why this is a problem: Dangerous files, that you may encounter in emails or on your system as a result of spyware or hijacks may have double file extensions such as "britney.jpg.exe".  When Windows hides file extensions, you will see: "britney.jpg" leading you to think that you are looking at an image file, when in reality, this is an executable that is designed to do harm.  This confusion is one of the many methods used to mislead and spread viruses and Trojan horse attacks across the internet via email, IRC, IM, etc.

How to unhide the extensions.

In Windows 95/98:

  1. Open Explorer
  2. Under View menu, select Options
  3. Check "show all files"
  4. Uncheck "hide MSDOS file extensions that are registered"
  5. Click OK to finish

In Windows 2000 and XP:

  1. select Start | Settings | Control Panels | Folder Options
  2. select the View tab
  3. check "show hidden files and folders"
  4. Uncheck "hide file extensions for known file types"
  5. Click OK to finish

IMPORTANT EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE:

Even after you unhide the extensions using the above steps, you still cannot see certain hidden extensions for files ending with .shs, .pif, and .lnk. These files are executable, and are one of the most popular choices for many Trojan horses, such as "clickme.avi.pif" which will look like "clickme.avi", and "README.TXT.SHS" which will look like "README.TXT". Instead of being a movie file and text file, respectively, they are both dangerous Trojans.