File extension UNKNOWN

File extension UNKNOWN is one of the file extensions that define type of the file and its contents.

What is an .unknown extension file type, you ask? Well, chances are you never even heard of this file format but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist! The files with the file extension of .unknown are basically not associated any particular type of file, folder, program or software and hence the name ‘unknown' . These are the unknown Windows files which do not consist of a file association. However, these are very rare files and are not witnessed every day. They are generally created by the Microsoft Mail Program. This program is launched as the successor to the Microsoft Outlook program. When the Microsoft Mail receives a file which it is not able to identify, then by default, the extensio n of the file becomes .unknown.

So, why is a file name as .unknown?

The reasons why a file may have the File extension UNKNOWN may be because the file was not properly transferred on the web because it was corrupt. Another reason might be that the file was not uploaded completely and with proper mechanism on the mail. These factors make it difficult for the programs to identify such files. It might be that the file has not passed through the gateway properly. There might be security reasons behind it or even the policies of some companies or associations which purposely block some types of files.

Things to know

If a file gets converted to the File extension UNKNOWN, then it cannot be recovered or viewing the contents of the original parent file won't be possible by any means. An unknown file is of no help as the user cannot retrieve the data lost through it. However, some of these files may open with some of the text editor programs. If this is the case, then the contents of the file can be viewed and edited using a text editor. However, if the files are in the binary format, then opening them with the text editor also will not help.

There is one way of knowing the actual file extension of an .unknown file. It can be done by identifying the unique signature of the file which is included in the file itself. Then, these signatures can be determined through different software online which can tell the exact file extension - even if the file extension is actually missing. Although the files with the .unknown extension cannot be recovered fully; their suitable extensions can be known so that they can be opened with a suitable program later.

Confused about File extension UNKNOWN? Want to learn more about what file extensions are, how Windows and computers work? You can start by reading our knowledge base articles about these topics in our knowledge base which is regularly updated with new content.

Files on computers are grouped together into folders. Folders can contain files or other folders within them. Folders help keeps your computer files organized. Learn more about files and folders.

Files can contain different kinds of information – text documents, spreadsheets with numbers, pictures, videos, music, maps, etc… In order to tell which file contains which data, file extensions are used. File extension is a part of a file name that comes after the last dot. Examples of file extensions are JPEG, DOC, MP3, MP4, etc. A rough analogy would be person’s last name. Just like it, file extension identifies which “family” of files, specific file belongs to. Learn more about file extensions.

From computer’s point of view all files contain just long strings of numbers. It is computer applications (aka software) is what translates these numbers into useful, text images, and sounds. In order to open the file correctly, computer must use correct application that is appropriate for a file type (Word processor for text documents, photo application for image files, etc). Each file extension is assigned main default application that opens it and a number or additional applications that user can choose from. Information about these assignments is stored in Windows Registry. Failure to open files often results from Windows registry being corrupted. Learn more about Windows Registry.

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