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What is an XNB File?

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Question: What is an XNB File?

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

Before you can open an XNB 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 .XNB file extension refers to.

Answer: A file with the XNB file extension is a XNA Game Studio Express XNA Framework Content Pipeline Binary file.

In English: an XNB file is usually a compressed file full of images that appear in a video game created with XNA Game Studio.

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

How To Open an XNB File:

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

The real source of XNB files is Microsoft XNA Game Studio, a tool that works with Microsoft Visual Studio to help create video games. This program, however, isn't a practical tool to extract images from XNB files.

Your best bet is a program called XNB Exporter, which extracts the PNG files from the compressed XNB file you're working with.

You might also be able to open and/or edit XNB files with The Gametools Suite.

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

Tip: Use Notepad or another text editor to open the XNB 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 XNB files but it's worth a try.

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

How To Convert an XNB File:

There are two main ways to attempt to convert an XNB file to another file type:

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

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

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