How to Open and Read .DAT Files in Windows

Read .DAT Files

Windows has a number of .dat files which many people don’t know how to read and open these files. If you find .dat files then, it’s not a big issue. DAT file is basically generic data that stores information related to a program which is then used to initiate a particular file. Few apps like CCleaner, Porteus, and Minecraft use these files and may send them as an attachment in the e-mail. 

What is a DAT File?

DAT file basically contains and handles important information for software. This file has usually plain or binary data in it. Sometimes, it contains important data for programs (like VCDGear or CyberLink PowerDirector) of a video file. However, many programs make their own DAT files and are used by the application not by the user. Many games (e.g., Minecraft) use DAT files to store a fragment of levels. 

How To Read & Open DAT Files

In order to read and open DAT files firstly try to know what kind of it this file is and in which format it can be converted easier to open it. These can not be opened easily because these files contain plain text so try to open them in different programs like MS Word or Notepad which will let you see the content. Otherwise, you can’t understand unless you are a good programmer. 

Using a Text Editor To Open DAT Files

For a text-based file, you can open it using a text editor. In Windows, Notepad will help you to convert DAT files which then you are able to understand easily. Other programs are there to open the DAT files to convert these into text-based forms.

However, the following are the simple steps:

  1. In Windows, simply right-click the DAT file which you want to open
  2. Then, click the Open With command 
  3. Choose the text editor of your preference (which will allow you to read the content it is a text-based .dat file) and press OK 

How To Convert DAT Files

There is no particular need to convert the DAT files to any other format, simply because they contain configuration information. Even if you do change it to a different format, they won’t work. You only need to change them if someone wants to use these files in a project or something. If that is the case, then yes definitely you have to convert them to another format. So the project can read them and run them. You can use any online converter tool to convert these files as they don’t require any special converter.

Another reason to convert the DAT file is when you know it is a different file format but shows the .dat file. Fo that, the conversion process is easy, but you should know what kind of find it was or it should be.

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All you need is to change the extension of that file and it will work. For example, for MS word files, you need to change the .dat to .docx or .doc. If it is an image file, then you need to change the extension to .jpeg or .png.

In some cases, this might corrupt the file and it won’t open any program you have. So, to get rid of this, check whether you used the correct extension. Secondly, check whether the file format is the same or not. For example, if the file is a video and you used an image extension, you won’t be able to open it in any image viewer.

How to Open Winmail.dat Files

Read .DAT Files

While using a mail server like outlook, you’ll notice some files are being downloaded in winmail.dat format. Usually, when you turn on automatic attachment saving, then this sort of thing happens. The reason behind this is that the person sending you a message on Outlook is not using Outlook themselves. So, Outlook will consider the message as insecure thus encrypting it, so it won’t cause any spam. Don’t fret if you get such files, they are not spamming and you can easily open them as well.

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  1. To open these files, visit
  2. Then click the Choose file button and locate the .dat file.
  3. Once the file is uploaded, it might take time based on how big the file is, click the Start button to analyze.
  4. The result will show what is in that .dat file and you can download the shown files on your computer. This also saves, time as you can directly download the required file, leaving all the unnecessary ones.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that most of the .dat file has system information, that you can’t open in a regular text editor. Either you need something that can easily read the encrypted language, or you need to cover it in the proper format. For all the system information files, you really don’t need to open them as they don’t have anything useful. But still, if you are interested, change the extension of .sys and you can open them.

Do let us know how you manage to open the .dat file following our tutorial. If you have any problems, let us know in the comment section below. Our team will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

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