File Type

The operating system should support the file system. If the OS does not recognize a file type then any operation on the file will not be successful. The files are given an extension to indicate the type of file separated by a period or a dot.

For example,

  • – A java program source code file.
  • program.c – A C program source code file.
  • salary.doc – A MS Word document.
  • flower.jpg – An image file.

The above are some examples of file types which information in the form of text, image, programming code, audio, video and binary files.

The file type decide the operation on the file. You cannot read and image file, so you need an image viewer. Similarly, C source code file needs a C compiler, not any other programming language compiler.

Here is a list of common file types recognized by most operating systems:

File TypeExtension Description
executables.exe, .com, .bin or nonemachine language programs that can run immediately.
object.o, .objcompiled code that are not linked
source code.c, .java, .cc, .asm, .asource code in programming languages
batch.bat, .shcontains commands for command interpreter
text.txt, .doctext documents
word processor.doc, .rtf, .rtf, .wpword processor text documents
library.lib, .a, .so, .dlllibrary of builtin functions
print or view.jpg, .ps, .pdfASCII or binary files for printing or viewing, .rar, .tarrelated files grouped into one file
multimedia.mpeg, .mov, .avi, .rm, .mp3binary files containing audio, video


  • Abraham Silberschatz, Peter B. Galvin, Greg Gagne (July 29, 2008) Operating System Concepts, 8 edn., : Wiley.

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