Fixing Invalid File Type Errors

A file type is a designation assigned to certain pieces of information on your computer. Each file type tells Windows and the application that created it how to handle the file, what the file is for, and how the file should be used. File types, or formats, are typically designated by the three-letter file extension (for instance, msoe.dll is a dynamic linkage library file type, resume.doc is a Microsoft Word document, etc.). Your Windows registry will store information for each registered file format that tells Windows which application is capable of opening the file. A compatible application can open file types that it understands and allow you to use the file (e.g., Windows Media Player can open AVI files).

Modifying the way Windows handles your files

With some minor registry tweaks, you can change the way Windows handles your different file types, file extensions, and file formats. To change the application with which a certain file format opens, find an example of the file whose default application you wish to change. Right-click on the file, and choose 'Open With...'. If the file is unregistered, you will only see the "Open" option, which is what you should choose if the 'Open With...' option is not available. If you're presented with a cascading menu after selecting 'Open With...', choose 'Choose Program'. In the 'Choose Program' dialogue box, find the application that you wish to associate with the file type you are modifying. Select it and ensure the check box marked 'Always use this program to open the selected file' is checked. Press 'OK'. Your files of the selected file format will now open with the new default application you just selected.

Fixing file type errors

If you are experiencing file type or file format errors, you may see some of the following error messages:

These error messages indicate that either you do not have the required software to manipulate the file type you are trying to access, or the software you do have is not set up correctly to handle the files you wish to use.

Firstly, ensure you have the correct software on your machine. Identify which application the file format you are trying to use is meant for, and verify that the software is installed and functional on your computer. Secondly, make sure the software is set up to handle your files. If the file type error is being generated from a video or audio player, make sure you have the relevant video and audio codecs installed on your machine. Finally, follow the steps in the previous section to ensuring your file type is registered and associated with the application that you want to use with it.

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