Windows 10 October 2018 update desktop

In preview builds of Windows 10 19H1 and 20H1, Microsoft has added a new feature to the File Explorer which allows users to create and rename extension only files. We were able to reproduce the changes on both Windows 10 19H1 and 20H1 machines.

Windows 10 version 1903/20H1 changes how the File Explorer handles the renaming of the file extensions and it’s a useful feature if you display the file extension. File Extension (such as .txt, .png, .jpg) is that which identifies the file type and there are many users who prefer to show File Extensions.

To show file extensions in Windows 10, you can search for File Explorer Options in Cortana and uncheck ‘Hide extensions for known file types’ in the views tab, as shown in the screenshot below.

File Explorer extensions

In Windows 10 October 2018 Update or older, if you create or rename a file to a text that starts with a dot and file extension is not specified, the system displays an error message stating that ‘You must type a file name’.

It is worth noting that there have been multiple ways to create or rename files to include dot prefix in earlier versions of Windows 10. For instance, users can also add a dot after the name of the file to skip the error.

File extension error

In Windows 10 April 2019 Update and newer, the process has got a bit easier. File Explorer will now allow you to rename a file to be something like ‘.test’ directly from the desktop or folder. Previously there would be an error citing that you needed to provide a name.

File extension in 19H1

It’s a small change but it should help web developers and even normal users if they want to create a file that starts with a dot.

  • drearyworlds

    This is huge to me. Seems minor, but I make files that start with dot all the time. This saves me having to pop up cmd.

  • Jim Cofer

    Haven’t you been able to do this forever in Notepad in Windows NT… as long as you put it in quotes? I remember doing in Workstation 4 for sure.

    • Dustojnik Hummer

      Yes and 3rd party file managers also allow this. But this is native, finally

  • Asptar

    It’s possible to get around this in Explorer by simply appending another dot at the end. Have been able to do this since before XP. E.g. ‘ .htaccess.’ will be saved as ‘.htaccess’

    • Mayank Parmar

      Yes. But in 19H1/20H1, there’s no need to put a dot after the text or use Notepad. Slightly easier than before and might help those who weren’t aware of the old trick.

      Updated the article with this detail.

      • Jim Cofer

        Apparently you DON’T have to use just Notepad – I was able to save files just now in Notepad++, Word and Excel as “.test” by using quotes.

        • Divi

          but you cannot rename them directly from desktop/explorer without adding additional dot after the file name.

  • yoganick

    This is something they should have added many versions ago, and not worthy of celebration.

    When you tell your kid to clean their room and they don’t do it before they’re 25 years old and move out you don’t praise them for cleaning their room.