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What is a DCIM File?


Question: What is a DCIM File?

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

Before you can open a DCIM 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 .DCIM file extension refers to.

Answer: A file with the DCIM file extension is a DICOM Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine file.

While completely unrelated to DICOM Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine files, most digital cameras also have a DCIM folder (not file) that contains all the digital images and video taken with the camera. If the files contained in that folder are missing, try a free file recovery program to retrieve them.

Important: It is possible that you could find a DCIM file on a media card from a camera but this indicates a file corruption with the DCIM folder. See the How To Open a DCIM File section below for some more thoughts.

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

How To Open a DCIM File

The easiest way to open a DCIM file is to double-click on it and let your PC decide which default application should open the file. If no program opens the DCIM file then you probably don't have an application installed that can view and/or edit DCIM files.

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 file extensions to avoid and why.

DCIM files that you find on a disc or flash drive given to you after a medical procedure can be viewed with the included software on the disc or drive. Look for a file called setup.exe or similar, or look through any documentation given to you with the data.

As I mentioned above, a DCIM file you find on a camera media card could indicate a corrupt DCIM folder. In Windows, you can try to correct this problem by executing the chkdsk command on the drive that represents the media card when connected to your computer.

If you know of anything else useful about DCIM files, please let me know so I can update this page.

Tip: Use Notepad or another text editor to open the DCIM file. Many files are text-only files meaning no matter the file extension, a text editor may be able to properly display the file's contents. This may or may not be the case with DCIM files but it's worth a try.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the DCIM file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open DCIM 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 DCIM File

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

The first option involving opening the DCIM 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 DCIM files, a third-party file conversion tool (the second option) could be very useful.

Important: You cannot usually change a file extension (like the DCIM 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 DCIM 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 DCIM file and I'll see what I can do to help.

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