opening file attachments

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Khandro | 19:35 Wed 13th Jan 2010 | Computers
16 Answers
I have received some files as attachments to an email. When I try to open them I get the pop up message; ' This file does not have a program associated with it, create an association in the folder options control panel' How do I do this please?


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If I understand what you mean, I think it means that you haven't got a program installed on your computer that will help to open it.

Example: A word document might not because it's a Vista computer document and you don't have a Vista computer.

So you have to find out what it is that you're opening and then install the program.

I really hopes this helps! Sorry if it doesn't!
>Example: A word document might not because it's a Vista computer document
>and you don't have a Vista computer.

It is nothing to do whether you have Vista or not, more to do if you have Word or not.

A person with Word on Vista could send it to you and even if you were running Word on XP it will still open.
That doesn't happen with me and my friends when we have to send each other documents. I have to change it to a 97-2003 cos my friends have an XP not Vista and they can't read it cos it come up in weird writing.
We need to know what type of files they are (Word, Excel, Adobe PDF, Photoshop etc).

If you dont know that then we need to know what the three or more letters are AFTER the main file name.

For example a Word document might be called meeting.doc

It is the "doc" after the word "meeting" that defines it as a Word file.

(Windows uses the three letters to tell what program to use to open the file. It seems your Windows does not recognize these three letters so does not know what to do with them)

So tell us the three letters and we will tell you what file types they are and what program you need to open them.

If the three letters are not displayed then let us know and we will tell you how to display them.
>I have to change it to a 97-2003 cos my friends have an XP not Vista and they
>can't read it cos it come up in weird writing.

That is nothing to do with you having XP or Vista.

It depends on the VERSION OF OFFICE you are running.

With Office 2007 Microsoft changed the file formats for Word, Excel etc.

If you send someone a Word 2007 format document they cant open it in Office 2003 as Office 2003 does not recognize it.

The person who is running Office 2003 (or Office XP) needs to download the Office Compatibility Pack and install it.

Then they will be able to open files created in Office 2007.

Get it from here
As Darknight indicates, this problem most commonly arises when there is no suitable program on your PC to open the file

Look at the file extension (e.g: .doc, .mp3, .pps, or .pub). Then post a reply to this thread, telling us what it is. That will help us identify the program which you need in order to open the file, so that we can tell you where to get it from.

For example, if the file extension is '.pps', you've been sent a Powerpoint presentation. To open it you need either the full version of Microsoft Powerpoint (expensive) or Microsoft's Powerpoint Viewer (a free download).

Once we've identified a suitable (free) program, simply installing it on your PC should create the necessary file association.

It should be noted that, while some files can be opened in a suitable free 'viewer' program (or in another free program which is compatible with the one which created the files), some files can only be opened on PCs that have exactly the same program installed as the one which created the file. (For example, to the best of my knowledge QuarkXpress files - with a .qxd file extension - can only be opened with QuarkXpress, which costs about £850!).

Thank you, Buenchico.
Question Author
Thanks everyone! One file for example is called 'sunfan illustration 3 .pdf (1.51MB)
I guess it's the '.pdf ' that counts ?

A .PDF file is an an adobe file format for documents.

install foxit free PDF reader and you'll be able to view the file

Question Author
Downloaded Foxit and pleased to say it works fine, many thanks! I recently had the same problem with, (what I now realize) were called .prn files, which I could read, but could not print, would they also need a separate program, or is that all a different can of worms?
Not sure why Darknight is thanking Chris, unless it's because he/she thinks that Chris is also confirming the correctness of the statement "Example: A word document might not because it's a Vista computer document and you don't have a Vista computer."

If that's the case Darknight, you should be aware that that is completely incorrect. As VHG states, it will depend on the version of Office that's installed, and is nothing to do with whether the machine is running Vista or XP.

As VHG also says, later versions of Office can be configured to create documents in formats that are compatible with earlier versions.
Blimey! Why didn't someone just ask the obvious staright away ie what file extension is it? Lot of handbags flailing about over nothing at all!
No, it weren't about that rojash. It was about the fact that there was a program missing -.-
Whoever sent you a '.prn' file probably did so in error. It's the type of file which is generated if someone selects 'print to file', instead of printing a document onto paper.

A .prn file is actually a set of instructions to tell a printer how to organise the text and images on a page. Those instructions will work even if the original program is not present. For example, somebody could design a document in Microsoft Publisher and then 'print to file'. If they sent you the resultant .prn file, double-clicking on it should make your printer produce the document, even though you might not have Microsoft Publisher on your PC. It's a good idea in theory but it has one massive drawback: it will only work if you've got the same type of printer as the person who created the file! (So it's almost totally useless).

.prn files were Microsoft's (failed) way of trying to make files 'portable' between computers, irrespective of whether both PCs shared the same programs. A different software company, Adobe, recognised that Microsoft couldn't organise a p1ss up in a brewery and solved the problem of 'portability' by introducing their own 'portable document format', with the pdf extension. (That's probably what the person who sent you the useless .prn files actually meant to send).

Question Author
Thank you one and all. Dare I ask one last question before I get out of your hair? Now I have downloaded Foxit I have an icon on my desktop, which is fine, but I also have gathered a Foxit toolbar which I don't really want as it reduces the size of my screen by about 12cm. Can I remove it via control panel without loosing the Foxit .pdf reading facility?
Yes, it will be a separate entry in add remove programs

For future reference it's worth actually paying attention to what is on the screen when you install programs. There would have been an option to not install the toolbar during the install process.

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