How To Open The .DAT File

How To Open The .DAT File

This comprehensive tutorial explains what a DAT file is and how to open the .DAT file. You will also learn how to open Winmail.dat on iPhone, iPad and Mac:

Some of you may have gotten stuck with the .DAT file at some point which should have been an MS Word file. And now you don’t know what to do with it.

Here, in this tutorial, we will introduce you to the world of DAT files, what they are, why they are used, how to open them, etc.

What is a .DAT File?

The .DAT extension is a generic file that contains critical information about the programs used to create a specific file. It could be in text or binary format. However, in some rare cases, you can find them in the form of actual video file data for VCDGear, CyberLink PowerDirector, and other similar programs.

They can get into the email attachment file as winmail.dat file, video, image, document, etc. which are typically created by Microsoft Exchange Server. But many other programs create DAT files and references to a specific function in their respective programs.

Usually, these files are hidden in the application’s data folders, but you may still see them often if you’ve received an ironic attachment in your email with the extension or if you’ve similarly archived a video file.

Often the name tells us what type of file it is, otherwise it is really difficult to understand what type of file you are dealing with, be it text, images, movies or something completely different.

For instance:

The name of the DAT file indicates that it is an audio file

Here, the file name indicates that it is an audio file.

How To Open The .Dat File

These files are generally designed to be used by applications and not to be opened manually. This file in games like Minecraft stores blocks of levels which are loaded as the game progresses. You can open them with programs that have been created for that purpose or you can even use a text editor or VLC. Opening a DAT file depends on the type of file you are dealing with and the information it contains.

Using the text editor

You can use any text editor to open a DAT file. All text editors have a different process for opening a DAT file but are easy to use.

Right click on the file you want to open and select the “open with” option. And then choose your text editor.

Text editor

Now, if the file is text based, it would look like the image below:

The DAT file is text based

If not, it will look similar to the image provided below:

DAT file

If your text editor looks like the image above, it means it’s not a text file and you need to open it with other tools or not open it at all.

Opening video DAT files

As mentioned above, some programs like VCDGear or CyberLink PowerDirector have video DAT files. You can open these files with the programs that contain them in their folder or you can use VLC.

Right click on the file you want to open and select the “Open with” option. Then select VLC from the menu. But don’t hope high as most of the .DAT files in your program directories would be pretty useless as they are often gibberish computer code, well, most if not all of them are.

Converting DAT files

If nothing works and you have no idea of ​​the source of the .DAT file, converting them to other formats like text, audio, or video might work. Sometimes, VCD files that use the .mpg format may end up being stored as DAT files.

If so, all you need to do is right-click on the file and go to properties. In place of the file name, replace .dat with the format in which you think the original file is. However, before starting the process, make a copy of the file and then convert it as the wrong conversion could damage the file.


You can also use a file converter for the same purpose, and the process will differ depending on the program you are using. There is a wide variety of file converters, both free and premium, available online.

How to open a Winmail.dat file

Microsoft Outlook sometimes automatically converts an email to .dat format. This also happens with other email servers. If you receive an email created in Outlook while you don’t have Outlook, you will receive a winmail.dat file as an attachment. You will not be able to see the full message. You can use to open this attachment.

For this, you will have to download the file from the email attachment and for this go to

Winmail.dat file

Select “Choose File”, navigate to the DAT file you downloaded and click Open. Once the file is uploaded, click Start. After is finished, you will be taken to the results page to see the contents of that DAT file.

On iPhone and iPad

You can use TNEF’s Enough free tool to open, view and allow access to any data in a winmail.dat attachment in the iOS Mail app.

  • First exit the iOS Mail app and download TNEF’s Enough from the App Store.
  • Now reopen the mail with winmail.dat attachment.
  • Tap the attachment and select “Copy to TNEF’s Enough”.

On iPhone and iPad

  • If the file is readable, TNEF’s Enough will open it in iOS displaying the list of items in the attachment.

In Mac OS X

There are three ways to open a DAT file on Mac.

Method 1

This is the simplest method of all. All you need to do is open a winmail.dat file, save it, and make it trustworthy as the intended file type.

  • Open the mail with the attached winmail.dat file.
  • Right click on the attachment and select “Save Attachment”.

winmail.dat example

  • In the Save As box, replace .dat with the desired file extension type, then save the file.


Method 2

This is the same process we used above in the iPhone and iPad using TNEF Enough. Download the program from the App Store, then open the email with DAT attachment. Right click on the file and copy to TNEF Enough. Select “Start” and the program will show a results page with everything inside that file.

Method 3

Gmail’s web-based email clients can handle winmail.dat files easily and can accurately interpret them as an accurate file attachment or RTF-formatted email, well, almost always. So, all you need to do is forward the email with the DAT attachment to your Gmail account. Then open Gmail in your web browser to view the file.

Other DAT files

Another program that uses DAT file is DriveImage XML and its purpose is completely different from the ones mentioned above. DriveImage XML is a backup program and its DAT file holds the entire backup and an XML file accompanies it. You cannot view this file in any other program except DriveImage XML which created that file.

Many other programs also use DAT files. Bitcoin Core uses the Bitcoin client wallet file called wallet.dat. The Porteus Linux operating system saves its container files with the DAT file extension. For Piriform applications, they store portability and registration information. While the Windows registry stores hives and other registry information in DAT files.

The uninstallation information for Inno Setup is stored there. These are just a few examples of DAT files that don’t need to be opened manually. If you do, they will become corrupt and useless. If you want to open these files, you will need to open them with the programs that created them in the first place.

Frequently asked questions about DAT files

Q # 1) What program can we use to open a DAT file?

Answer : You can use a text editor or VLC to open a DAT file depending on what type of file it is. It is best not to tinker with them unless necessary.

Q # 2) How to convert a DAT file to PDF?

Answer: you can use a PDF printer to convert a DAT file to a PDF. The process will depend on the PDF printer you are using. There are many available online both free and premium.

Q # 3) How to convert DAT to Word?

Answer: First, find the folder which contains the DAT file you want to convert. At the top of the folder screen, there is a “tools” option, click on it. Check the ‘show’ option and uncheck the box next to “Hide extensions for known file types”. Press ok.

Open word, go to “file” and then click “open”. Now select the file you want to open. Now select “Save As” and save select “Word 97-2003” in the “Save as type” option. Click OK and that’s it.

Q # 4) How to convert DAT to text in Excel?

Answer: right click on the file and select “open with”. Select Microsoft Excel and uncheck the box next to the “Always use the selected program to open this type of file” option. Click OK. Now go to “File” and select “Save As”. Name the file and select “save as”. Select CSV (comma separated values) and “Save” the file.

Q # 5) What is Bootstat dat?

Answer: is a Trojan horse virus that targets Windows OS computers that damages system files and arbitrarily changes system settings to infect the system. So no matter what, never try to open it or even click on it.

Q # 6) Can I delete the .DAT files?

Answer: Yes you can, just like you can delete other files. But if you delete the wrong .DAT file, a program could get damaged and you will end up losing it. So, before hitting the Delete button, make sure the file isn’t associated with any program.


DAT summarizes a large and diverse range of files that are critical to the software and should be left alone. Tinkering or tampering with them can lead to their software becoming useless. These files cannot be edited readily and are obscure for a reason

But if you want to open a .DAT file, use the appropriate program. If you think it has media that you can play or in case of text, you can read, go ahead, open it but first make a copy of the .DAT file. Do not interfere with the original one.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.