Set Windows to show file extensions to make it easier to determine attachment safety. By default Windows is set to hide file extensions and hackers have used this to hide the real extension of an attachment to look legitimate, as most users do not change the defaults.
As an example goodattachment.txt.exe would show as goodattachment.txt, unless Windows is set to show file extensions and, if opened would run the executable file with probable bad results.
Showing file extensions is a simple process:
- Left click Start.
- Left click Control Panel.
- Double click Folder Options.
- Select the View tab.
- Un-check the “Hide extensions for known file types.” box.
- Click OK.
- Close Control Panel.
Sowing file extensions is one of the first things I do when someone asks me to help them with a computer problem and I explain why they should keep this setting. Not only is this a good precaution for email, it helps me understand what the different files are in the folders on the computer that is having problems, as most leave the file extensions hidden and I can not then determine whether a particular file is a data file, an executable, a zip, etc.
Do yourself and your computer repair/consultant personnel a favor and set Windows to show file extensions.
If you know of any other reasons to show file extensions, please leave me a comment.