Do you have a .DAT file in your computer and unable to open it. If you are trying to open it in Windows directly, it may be giving you an error that the file cannot be opened or supported by it. However, it can still be read and opened in Windows. Before moving onto the ways that can be used to open .DAT files, I would first like you to know what these files are actually.

Ways To Read and Open Dat files In Windows

What Is A .DAT File?

.DAT files are usually the files that you have imported via email, mobile phone, or any other medium. The reason why these files are not likely to be generated by the Windows is because there is no particular software in it that can create, open, read or edit files having such extension. Therefore, the only possibility left is that you have received or downloaded this file from any other device or user.

.DAT files can be anything like a text file, video, image, audio, presentation, etc. Therefore, there is no software that can open it by determining the file content on its own and the user will need to determine the content type of the file.

Determining The Content Type Of .DAT File:

As aforementioned, there is no particular software that can open it unless the user know the right content type and try to open it using the specific software designed for opening those files. Now you may be thinking that how would you determine the content type.

There is only one application software in Windows i.e. Notepad which is able to open any type of file be it image, video, audio or text in text format. Therefore, the first thing that you will need to do is to open your .DAT file using notepad.

All you need to do is to right click on the file and select the ‘Open With’ option. When you will select the open with option, it will display you a list of application software that you have installed on your computer. In that list of application software, there will be notepad too. You just need to select notepad and click ‘Ok’ at the bottom of that pop-up.

The given below is the result shown by notepad when I have opened a .JPEG file in it.

.DAT in Notepad

Determining the content type or type of file is hard to be determined by a normal computer user. Only a technical user such as developer can determine the file type by the content displayed by notepad upon opening any non-textual file.

Opening Non-Textual .DAT Files In Windows:

In case, you have opened your .DAT file in notepad and it has displayed something like shown in above image, then you will need to determine it by carrying out the given steps of determining the file type.

  • Hide Extensions For Known File Types:

The first and foremost thing that you will need to do is to hide extensions for the known file types. It can be simply done by clicking the View tab at the top of your screen. After clicking on View tab, you will need to scroll it down and uncheck hide extensions for the known file types. Once you have unchecked it, the extensions of files will be displayed.

Hide Extension

  • Change File Extensions:

Once the Windows start displaying the file extensions, you will need to change them one by one and try opening it with the software that is conventionally used to open files having that extension. For instance, you have changed the .DAT extension to .xls, you will then need to open it via MS Excel. One more thing that you must keep in mind is that you should not only try changing the .DAT extension with Adobe or Microsoft Office supported extensions and should also go for video extensions like .AVI or image extensions like .JPEG.

Extension Change

The Only Determined .DAT File Type:

Among all types of .DAT file, Winmail.DAT is only file type that can be determined and opened directly without opening it in notepad or changing its extensions again and again. If you have the above said .DAT file in your computer, you do not need to struggle to open or read it because such files are saved on computer when you download or save the attachment sent to you by a user via MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server or Outlook Express.

Therefore, all you need to do is to go to, upload the file on it and it will open the file. However, let me remind you once again that this method is only suitable for the Winmail.DAT files and in order to open any other .DAT file, you will need to go through the above mentioned procedure.

Bottom Line:

I hope that by reading the above mentioned procedure, you may now be able to open your mysterious .DAT file and know what information it actually contains.