Worldwide Soaring Turnpoint Exchange

Filename Extensions in Microsoft® Windows


It appears that when you download a file from the "Worldwide Soaring Turnpoint Exchange" - or any other server - using Internet Explorer 5®, by default IE5® forces a filename extension of either .txt or .htm depending on which mouse button you click. [ The filename's 'extension' is the three characters that follow the period in the filename; e.g. the extension of "BOULDER.NDB" is "NDB". ] This has unfortunately caused considerable grief for a number of users. Windows can be configured (apparently it is the default) so that you do not even see the .txt when you look at the files with Windows Explorer.   This can be a problem, since the program that you are trying to import the file into will most commonly be looking for files with its own specific file name extension, e.g. BOULDER.NDB, and it will not find BOULDER.NDB.TXT; in fact you will see BOULDER.NDB in Windows Explorer and most likely you will get very, very frustrated....   While Windows® messing with filename extensions is primarily a problem for downloading, it can also create grief if somehow things get mucked up so that Windows® applies the wrong program to your file, e.g. it thinks that BOULDER.NDB should get sent off to the Adobe Acrobat reader, instead of Notepad to display it.

It has been suggested that you might:

  1. Use Netscape,
  2. After downloading using IE5®, rename the file, using Windows Explorer, to remove the offending IE5 appended filename extension, or
  3. In Windows "associate" the filename extensions that you commonly use with the following recipe.
If you are going to download more than one file, or just on the principle that this sort of thing "builds character", you might want to consider investing a few minutes in going through the following recipe to implement suggestion #3.   [ The commands given are for Windows '95.   Where there are differences in Windows '98, they are given in italics. ]
  1. Select "Windows Explorer"
  2. Select "View", or for Windows XP, select "Tools"
  3. Select "Options" ["Folder Options"]
  4. Select the "View" tab, if it does not start with this displayed.
  5. Make sure that the box "Hide the MS-DOS file extensions for the file types that are registered" ["Hide file extensions for known file types"] is NOT checked.   That way if Windows does something like stick a ".TXT" on the end of your filename, you will at least see it.
  6. Select the "File Types" tab.
  7. Select "New Type".
  8. Fill in the "Description of type", e.g. "SN10 Database"
  9. Fill in the "Content Type", which in this case would be "text/plain", or choose it from the pull-down menu by selecting the down arrow on the right.
  10. Fill in the "Associated Extension", which in this case would be "ndb"
  11. Select "Always show extension".   [ I "think" that this does the same thing as #5, but having gone to all this trouble, let's make sure!! ]

    That is all there is to establish that you really do want the filename extension to be respected.   You can stop here if you are establishing an "association" for a non-text format such as the Filser, Lowrance, or SoarCont files.   What follows is useful to be able to view a text file that you have downloaded, by just clicking on it in Windows Explorer.

  12. Select "New" under the "Actions" window
  13. Fill in "Action" with "open"
  14. Fill in "Application used to perform action" with c:\windows\NOTEPAD.EXE, or use the "browse" to find where Notepad is on your computer.
  15. Select "OK", to leave the Options menu.
  16. Exit "Windows Explorer".
If you have Windows 98 SE, apparently it looks at a file extension .DAT as a DVD file and wants to run the video portion of the DVD. If this happens, it is reputed that if you can click on the Movie Projector icon and hold down the shift key and right click, a menu will open and select "open with", then select the program you want to associate with the file - presumably Notebook and check "always open with this program". You may have problems with real DVD files later on, but you just have to get your priorities straight!

Thanks to Tim Newport-Peace for pointing us in the right direction, Dave Nadler for checking this over and for the graphics, Sam Fly and the many other guinea pigs who have brought this "feature" of Windows  to our attention and who have helped us all to co-exist with it.


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Please contact John Leibacher with any suggestions concerning this material.

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