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Author Topic: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?  (Read 6830 times)

J-Mac

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Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« on: October 10, 2008, 06:08:28 PM »
To wit the following:

.wmv (Windows Media Audio/Video file)
.dvr-ms (Microsoft Recorded TV Show)
.asx  (Windows Media Audio/Video playlist)

And software developers don’t do much better:

.pdf (PDF-XChange Viewer Document)

Then there is the usual "Stating the Obvious" names:

.cmf (CMF File)
.DMP (DMP File)
.bin (BIN File)
.hdmp (HDMP File)
.dat (DAT File)
.edb (EDB File)
.onecache (ONECACHE File)
.IMD (IMD File)
.sqlite (SQLITE File)
etc., etc., etc....

Why oh why do they have to add these parenthetical descriptions to every darn file type?!?  I'm no advanced techie type but I can get by with just the extensions, honest. And it is those descriptions in parentheses about which I am complaining, not the extensions themselves. Although I really could do without the .ONECACHE or the .dvr-ms. Three letter extensions are more than adequate. Why make a nice, compact, narrow column and make it take up half the page?

I was just working in Excel 2007 on my Vista notebook, setting the column widths. I used the "Automatic Width" feature and then immediately clicked on the "Undo" arrow. A lot of default file names are way too long also, but the File Type column is what catches my eye first.

Windows XP was bad enough with these file type descriptions, but in Vista I guess that Microsoft decided to be even more "helpful"! Using Directory Opus it is simple enough to edit these to just show the extensions, but so time consuming. There are a LOT of file types here! And frankly, I have better things to do with my time than spending hours editing file type descriptions.

I just spent a good 20 or so minutes searching for a better solution on Google and at Microsoft.com but it is difficult to find any search results that are not focused solely on changing file extensions on files. I guess that not enough people have searched for this issue so there are few or no results for this. I was hoping for a hidden Windows option to drop the description altogether and just show the extensions. Or even a batch file of some sort that will remove all the descriptions. I am NOT going to play with any Search and Replace utilities and end up deleting all my file extensions!  (I already thought about that and the mind picture of me trying desperately to get all my extensions out of the Recycle Bin woek me up real fast!)

Anyway if anyone knows of a quicker or easier way to remove all the parenthetical descriptions after the file types, please do tell. If not, then this was just a chance for me to whine about it!

Thanks!

Jim

f0dder

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2008, 06:24:10 PM »
I don't think there's a way make explorer show file extension rather than file type - if you right-click the column header you can select which columns to show, but there's only "type". Somebody might have made an explorer extension to handle this, though.

Personally I use xplorer2 and show extension rather than type, so I'm a happy little camper :)

I disagree with "Three letter extensions are more than adequate.", btw. There's a lot of extensions that don't make any sense and there's too big risk of name collision for the ones that do make sense. This might not have been too bad if we still lived in the DOS days, but since we're using GUIs and like being able to double-click a file to open/edit/whatever, this is important.
- carpe noctem

fenixproductions

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2008, 06:46:21 PM »
I don't think there's a way make explorer show file extension rather than file type - if you right-click the column header you can select which columns to show, but there's only "type". Somebody might have made an explorer extension to handle this, though.
Little hint:
http://www.xrayz.co.uk/extension-column/

J-Mac

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2008, 08:11:50 PM »
I don't think there's a way make explorer show file extension rather than file type - if you right-click the column header you can select which columns to show, but there's only "type". Somebody might have made an explorer extension to handle this, though.

Personally I use xplorer2 and show extension rather than type, so I'm a happy little camper :)

I disagree with "Three letter extensions are more than adequate.", btw. There's a lot of extensions that don't make any sense and there's too big risk of name collision for the ones that do make sense. This might not have been too bad if we still lived in the DOS days, but since we're using GUIs and like being able to double-click a file to open/edit/whatever, this is important.

You'd have to show me (on my system, of course) what extensions need more than three characters. I don’t see them.

Also, I use DOpus and also have Extensions showing rather than Type. But that doesn't change it in Explorer, and Explorer is what feeds all other applications that show file types - like a report from TreeSize Pro exported to Excel, thus requiring a column width of 34!!

Jim

J-Mac

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2008, 08:13:51 PM »
I don't think there's a way make explorer show file extension rather than file type - if you right-click the column header you can select which columns to show, but there's only "type". Somebody might have made an explorer extension to handle this, though.
Little hint:
http://www.xrayz.co.uk/extension-column/

While that program will add the Extension column to Explorer itself, will that also propagate to other applications? I'd hate to download, install and try it just to find out I'm still screwed in Excel et al!

Jim

f0dder

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2008, 08:18:19 PM »
While that program will add the Extension column to Explorer itself, will that also propagate to other applications? I'd hate to download, install and try it just to find out I'm still screwed in Excel et al!
It should :)
- carpe noctem

fenixproductions

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2008, 09:13:04 PM »
While that program will add the Extension column to Explorer itself, will that also propagate to other applications? I'd hate to download, install and try it just to find out I'm still screwed in Excel et al!
It should :)
Yes indeed.

ext.PNGWhy Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?

BTW This guy is placed on the top of open dialog (for the case you wonder):
http://www.zett42.de/flashfolder/
« Last Edit: October 10, 2008, 09:16:32 PM by fenixproductions »

J-Mac

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2008, 12:00:52 AM »
OK, I installed the Extension app - I'll see how that works after my next restart.

I realize, though, that doing this throughout all my thousands of folders will never be done. Maybe just a few key folders, I guess.

Thanks!

Jim

f0dder

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2008, 09:19:15 AM »
I realize, though, that doing this throughout all my thousands of folders will never be done. Maybe just a few key folders, I guess.
Doing what throughout all your folders?

You should only need to configure the columns once, then go to tools -> folder options -> "View" tab and "apply to all folders"... unless I'm super dense and it's something else you're talking about :-[
- carpe noctem

mwb1100

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2008, 11:49:02 AM »
You'd have to show me (on my system, of course) what extensions need more than three characters. I don’t see them.

The problem is that when a developer wants to come up with an extension for their application's data files they want to make it unique across all applications so there's no conflict on anyone's machines, not just yours.

J-Mac

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2008, 12:50:08 PM »
I realize, though, that doing this throughout all my thousands of folders will never be done. Maybe just a few key folders, I guess.
Doing what throughout all your folders?

You should only need to configure the columns once, then go to tools -> folder options -> "View" tab and "apply to all folders"... unless I'm super dense and it's something else you're talking about :-[

No way! Currently I, like many Windows users, have different directories configured to show different details and view styles. My Pictures, My Music, Program Files, etc. And then all subdirectories within those. If you use "apply to all folders" ALL folders will show only the exact details that are shown in the specific folder you save it from.

I've done that in the past and then realized that any and all customizations to all folders are lost for good! Unless of course you go through every folder that was customized and do it all over again.  Not me!

Thanks!

Jim

J-Mac

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2008, 12:56:32 PM »
You'd have to show me (on my system, of course) what extensions need more than three characters. I don’t see them.

The problem is that when a developer wants to come up with an extension for their application's data files they want to make it unique across all applications so there's no conflict on anyone's machines, not just yours.


Then that is the developer's problem IMO. If developers are required to stick with a standard extension length that wouldn’t be a problem. asit is, any developer can make an extension as long or short as he/she desires. Which can be a problem, at least for me!!

Or - with so many software applications now that apparently need to create their own special, unique, important (Read: proprietary - to make them more $$$), then set a standard for a 4 character length for file extensions.

But the way it is now it's getting kinda silly in some cases.

Thanks!

Jim

f0dder

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2008, 01:25:48 PM »
Quote
No way! Currently I, like many Windows users, have different directories configured to show different details and view styles. My Pictures, My Music, Program Files, etc. And then all subdirectories within those. If you use "apply to all folders" ALL folders will show only the exact details that are shown in the specific folder you save it from.
Hadn't thought of that - I've always been annoyed with individual folder view settings, and set EVERYTHING to details mode :)

I wouldn't be surprised if somebody has made a tool for backing up those settings.

Quote
Then that is the developer's problem IMO. If developers are required to stick with a standard extension length that wouldn’t be a problem. asit is, any developer can make an extension as long or short as he/she desires. Which can be a problem, at least for me!!

Or - with so many software applications now that apparently need to create their own special, unique, important (Read: proprietary - to make them more $$$), then set a standard for a 4 character length for file extensions.
4 chars wouldn't be enough either... and proprietary formats doesn't have much to do with this, actually. There's several programs storing data or configuration in XML format, but with a generic ".xml" extension, you aren't able to double-click a file and launch the correct application.
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Deozaan

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2008, 04:37:43 PM »
No way! Currently I, like many Windows users, have different directories configured to show different details and view styles. My Pictures, My Music, Program Files, etc. And then all subdirectories within those. If you use "apply to all folders" ALL folders will show only the exact details that are shown in the specific folder you save it from.

I've done that in the past and then realized that any and all customizations to all folders are lost for good! Unless of course you go through every folder that was customized and do it all over again.  Not me!

The solution to this (for future reference) is to make sure you set the default folder settings at the beginning of a fresh install. Then as you come to the rare folder you want displayed differently, you customize it.


J-Mac

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2008, 08:29:34 PM »
Deozaan,

Rare? I have a heck of a lot of subfolders in My Pictures and My Music - not too rare, actually.

Jim

Stoic Joker

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2008, 09:53:24 AM »
Deozaan,

Rare? I have a heck of a lot of subfolders in My Pictures and My Music - not too rare, actually.

Jim
Hence the "Apply this Template to all subfolders" checkbox in the Customize Folder tab of the folder properties dialog.

J-Mac

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Re: Why Does Microsoft Make File Type Names So Long?
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2008, 02:02:21 PM »
Deozaan,

Rare? I have a heck of a lot of subfolders in My Pictures and My Music - not too rare, actually.

Jim
Hence the "Apply this Template to all subfolders" checkbox in the Customize Folder tab of the folder properties dialog.

I can't say for sure now which of those items on the MS dialogs doesn’t work, but one of them does not. Known issue in XP. I used to use a small utility called FV3 (for Folder View Manager 3) written by a Microsoft MVP (Windows XP Shell User) named Keith Miller. When I find the documentation I'll post back about it. All I know is that folder views in Windows have been a pain - one of my reasons for loving DOpus so much!

Thanks!

Jim