There are not few situations in which somebody receives some files, be it as attachments in an email, or directly on a memory stick and doesn’t know what kind of files they are or how to open those files. One of these cases has as a subject DAT files and we’ll try to explain the user what these files are, what to be expected of them and how to open and use them.

The first thing that needs to be said about these files, are that DAT files are not associated with a particular software, like other, more popular, are. For example, a JPG file is known to be a image file that can be opened with any installed picture viewing software, or a PPT file that belongs to Microsoft PowerPoint. DAT files contain arbitrary, even random data and each time can be opened and viewed with another program than the last time. There is no association between the DAT extension and any known software.

So how can we find the right application to open a DAT file? Well, in case you don’t know the program that created the file and are able to use it to open it, you can begin trying several programs. The handiest one would be Notepad, which might be able to show you parts of the content at least that could seem familiar to you and recognize a format that is specific to a certain application.

However, there aren’t many programs that can generate DAT output files, so the most probable environment to come across such files is the email world, where these are present mostly as attachments. In this case, the quickest way is to ask directly the person who sent it to you what was the program that created the file, or what type was the file he or she attached, because there is another possibility, that the email server automatically converted an attachment to a DAT file, for one reason or another.

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