1. Computing

What is a BAT File?

By

Question: What is a BAT File?

Did you find a BAT file on your computer and wonder what program should open it? Maybe someone emailed you a BAT file but you're not sure how to use it. Perhaps you tried to open the BAT file but Windows told you that it could not open it.

Before you can open a BAT file (assuming it's even a file format that's intended to be viewed or edited), you'll need to determine what kind of file the .BAT file extension refers to.

Answer: A file with the BAT file extension is a Batch Processing file.

Other types of files may also use the BAT file extension. If you know of any additional file formats that use the .BAT extension, please let me know so I can update this information.

How To Open a BAT File:

The easiest way to open a BAT file is to double-click on it. BAT files are executable files, meaning Windows understands them as runnable programs in and of themselves.

Warning: Take great care when opening executable file formats received via email or downloaded from websites you're not familiar with. See my List of Executable File Extensions for a listing of other file extensions to avoid and why.

Notepad, included in all versions of Windows, can open a BAT file for editing. BAT files are text-based files so any text editor will be able to properly display the file's contents.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the BAT file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open BAT files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How To Convert a BAT File:

There are two main ways to attempt to convert a BAT file to another file type:

The first option involving opening the BAT file in its native program is preferable because it's both easier and will probably result in a more accurate file conversion. Of course if you don't have a program that opens BAT files, a third-party file conversion tool (the second option) could be very useful.

Important: You cannot usually change a file extension (like the BAT file extension) to one that your computer recognizes and expect the newly renamed file to be usable. An actual file format conversion using one of the methods described above must take place in most cases.

Still Having Problems Opening or Using a BAT File?

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the BAT file and I'll see what I can do to help.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.