What is .DAT File ? When to Use DAT File ? How to Open .DAT File ?

👤 Diwas Poudel    🕒 21 May 2022    📁 TECH

What is the .dat File?

The.dat file is an old generic data file that contains application-specific information. These files are typically only used for application support, and each application handles and processes.dat files differently. Unlike.gif or.docx files, DAT files have no specific protocols or structures.

 If you want to learn how.dat files work and how they are converted into a readable format, you must first understand how the application manages those files.

MIME Type used by .dat file can be either application/octet-stream and zz-application/zz-winassoc-dat.

The file Signature of all DAT files is the same.And Signature is : 50 4D 4F 43 43 4D 4F 43

Ex. If you have a .docx, .ppt,.xlsx file then you know the .docx file can be properly opened by MsWord, the .ppt file can be properly opened by PowerPoint, and xlsx file can be opened by Excel, google sheets. But if you have a .dat file then you do not have a particular application to open it.

Exceptionally, .dat is found as standalone. In most cases, it is found along with other configuration files like DLL files used by the application.

Also Read: What is CSV File? How to Open CSV File?

What is the Content of Dat File?

Dat File can be anything, it can be text, binary, video, images, waves, midi, or any graphics.

.dat file can be an application-specific file, windows system-specific file, video file, records, and also can be a virus.

Content of Dat File in most of the cases is not text so they are not readable. It looks like the below.

DAT files are used by the following category of application:

  • Web Browsers
  • Microsoft Applications
  • Audio / Video Players
  • Photo Viewer
  • Softwares and may more

Some of the popular DAT files are as follow

  • winmail.dat
  • portable.dat
  • level.dat: It is a Minecraft data file that contains information like player data, user games level data, and seeds data.
  • chunks.dat: It stores binary terrain game block data.
Note: You do not have to know what is inside any .dat file so do not put stress on it. These files are not supposed to be opened by users. Application-specific .dat files can be read by that application only.

How to Find .dat file in Windows System?

Windows OS and Application use .dat files and are mostly hidden from you. You can find the .dat file in windows easily with the following steps:

Goto Search file and type: *dat. and press Enter and you will get the list of .dat files present in your windows system as shown below.

How to Open Dat File?

If the .dat file is saved in text format then it can be opened with the help of any text editor. But in most cases, the DAT file contains binary data and is not meant to open manually. Even if you open it then you will not be able to understand the information written in it.

To open or read the DAT file, first, you have to know which application this DAT file belongs to.

Guess content in Dat File?

We can roughly guess the content of the DAT file. As we know the content of the DAT file can be text, audio, video, graphics, etc.

Steps for guessing:

1 Right-click on any DAT file.

2 Click on Properties and look at file size.

If file size is in bytes and kb then they are generally a text file

If filesize is much small MB then they can be audio and graphics file.

If the file size is big (say bigger than 100MBs) then it can be a video file. You can open video files using File Viewer Lite.

You can view the file using XVI32 Hex Editor.

XVI32 is a hex editor which can be installed in Windows 9x/NT/2000/XP/Vista/7.

Here, I have opened one file called virtualregistry.dat and from there we can clearly see it is a reg file ie. Windows Registry File.

Note that XVI cannot open all types of file.

.dat File vs .txt file 

.dat File .txt File
The content inside the DAT file is not human-readable in most cases. The content inside the text file is human-readable.
Used to store data that is generally not plain text. Used to store data which is plain text which contains letters, characters, and symbols.

It does not matter the file types and content inside it for programs to do file operations (read, write) with it. The program can read? Yes, That's it. It looks like garbage for you as most of the time you cannot open it and if opened then also cannot read the content.

How to Create a .dat File?

We do not create a .dat file for our doing general activities on the computer. It is generated for the programmers for storing program-related information. If you just want to create a text-based .dat file then follow the below steps.

1. Right-click on an empty area on the windows desktop, then click on "New" then "Text Document".

This will open a text document.

2. Write some things in it and click on File present at the top left corner, then "Save As" and give the desired name followed by .dat and click on ok.

Hey Hey Your text-based DAT file is created

How do I open a . DAT video file?

You just have to have a video player or Video Converter Tools to open the .dat video file. You can use Windows Media Player, VLC Player,MacX Video Converter, WinX Video Converter, VideoProc, AConvert, etc.

Here, I am using Windows Media Player to open the DAT video file.

  1. Right-click on .dat file
  2. Select Open With
  3. Choose Another App
  4. Click on the More App link
  5. Select Windows Media Player.

This will start playing video in Windows Media Player.

Also read: How do I navigate to a desktop in Windows CMD?

How do I open the .dat file in Excel?

For opening a DAT file in excel, you should have tabular data or a text-based DAT file. Visit Here.

How to Open .dat file in Windows?

Text, video, audio, pdf, and general binary data can all be stored in.dat files. You can open the.dat file with any text editor. You can use Notepad, WinWord, Notepad++, vscode, and many other programs.

1 First select Dat file

2 Right-click on the file

3 CLick on 'Open With'

4 Select Notepad from the list.

If the dat file is not a text file, you will be unable to understand its contents. However, if the data file contains text data, you can understand its contents.

How to open dat file on Mac?

TextEdit can open dat file but you may or may not be able to read and understand the content is based on the type of dat file. As mentioned above if dat file has text content then it can be readable.

Steps to open dat file on Mac:

1 Right on the dat file 

2 Click on 'Open with'

3 Select 'TextEdit' from the list.

Also read: How to open settings.json file in vs code ?

What is Level DAT in Minecraft? How to view and open it?

A level.dat file provides game rules as well as game properties such as cheats, time of day, level generator used, directory of world files, and game mode. These are Minecraft data files in the NBT file format, which is a proprietary file format used by the game (named binary tag). As a result, you'll require specialized software such as NBTExplorer. It is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Frequently Asked Questions?

1 What is WinMail.dat and How to Open WinMail.dat File?

Ans: Sometimes you may get an email message with the winmail.dat attachment file. Actually, this file contains email formatting information that is not readable to human beings. Actually, this happens if the sender sends a rich text format message and you as a receiver do not have a mail program set up to handle rich text formatted Microsoft Outlook mail.

There are a number of ways to resolve the issue if the winmail.dat file needs to be opened to read the message. One simple solution is to ask the sender to modify the settings in Outlook so that mail can be sent in plain text and the original message is resent.

Opening the WinMail.dat file in Android is very simple. You just need to have WinMail.dat Opener for Android.Winmail.dat Opener is a free app that helps us to open winmail.dat attachments. Click here for a download.

Warning: If you got the file via email attachment then it can be a virus do not open it directly.

2. Is .dat File a Virus?

.dat file could be virus..dat files virus infection codes can be spread using various techniques such as email spam messages, broken web pages or malicious software bundles, and freeware software packages.

3. How to prevent .dat Viruses?

Ans: .dat viruses or any other Viruses are mainly attacked system files located at 

  • %AppData%
  • %Local%
  • %LocalLow%
  • %Roaming%
  • %Temp%
  • %Roaming%

To prevent the virus, scan your system with antivirus and antimalware software like Kaspersky, Norton AntiVirus, etc.

4. Is it safe to delete the .dat file?

Ans: Do not delete the .dat file yourself because it can be a system file.For example. NTUSER. DAT file is a system file and deleting this file may affect your system.

5 Where does the .dat File is used and What is its purpose?

DAT files aren't data; they're binary files that can't be decrypted. The real issue is that they are used by many different programs to save data, and the filename alone does not tell you what the file is or what program it contains. A data file is a type of data file used in Minecraft, a 3D exploration and construction game, that can contain a variety of data, such as player inventory, player rank in the world, player points and score, and so on.

6. What is the NTUSER.DAT file?

Ans: Whenever you make changes in your system by changing the looks, feels, and behavior of Windows, or adding new software then Microsoft stores those user-specific configuration settings in the ntuser.dat file so that windows when windows loads again next time, Windows OS will read those settings from ntuser.dat file and apply those settings.

Deleting the ntuser.dat file does not cause Windows to crash but may remove any system settings and user configurations are usually recorded in the registry.

7 Can VLC play DAT Files?

VLC Player is capable of playing the dat file if it contains video data.