I have an odd affection for file extensions. To me they are more than just those letters stuck at the end of file names: they are the nuts and bolts, the cogs and screws, of computer software. Each new file extension reflects a new technology and the hopes, dreams and ambitions of its creators to cut out their own niche in the crowded world of computer software. Some file extensions are obscure, some are only just extant, and some are extinct but they all have their own story. Let’s take a quick glance at three popular, but not necessarily immediately recognizable files formats:
.BIN binary files
The BIN file extension primarily refers to “binary file output” files generated by a large number of different applications. Although the content of the BIN file can be viewed with a text editor this, in turn, will probably give you little information, unless you are lucky to find some hints in the ASCII section of the file. Data, read from a CD or DVD, may be stored on a PC as a BIN disk image file. In some cases, if the .BIN file won’t open you can try changing .BIN to .ISO. The Linux operating system sometimes also creates executable files with .BIN file extensions.
.DMG mountable disk image files
If the .BIN file can be a Linux executable file, then the .DMG file extension also identifies an executable file format. DMG files refer to mountable disk image files used as Apple’s version of the.EXE file format and which replace the .IMG format for Mac OS X. DMG files are generally used for the distribution and installation of software and are similar to other image format such as .IMG and .ISO. The point of disk image formats (including .DMG) was that they mapped a folder tree and its contents allowing the file to be virtually “mounted” on the computer as if it were a real drive (useful for backup and restore purposes). However the .DMG format can be mounted as a drive irrespective of whether it is an image of an existing device or not, and is used to distribute Apple software.
.PPS PowerPoint Slide Show files
Going from one type of “image” file to another type of “image” file we finish the .PPS file extension. Although the .PPS file extension is used by a number of different applications, the most common gnerator of .PPS files is by MS PowerPoint Slide Show. As created by this application .PPS files have become the standard format for arranging presentation material, and have also become popular, as email attachments, for displaying a range of themed photographs and images. Alternatively the .PPS file extension can be associated with image files generated by the Corel Paint Shop Pro graphics editor.