How to Open and View DAT File Type Contents in Windows 10 OS

What is a DAT File?

A DAT file is a generic data file that is created by a specific application or program to store information. The data contained in a DAT file can be in binary or plain text format.

DAT files are typically only accessed by the application that created them and are not meant to be opened manually by users. Many different types of applications can create and use DAT files for various purposes.

Some common examples of DAT file types include:

  • Video CD (VCD) Files: Store video data from Video CD discs in MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 format
  • Game Data Files: Used by games like Minecraft and SimCity to store level, map, and other game data
  • Application Support Files: Store configuration data, settings, and other information apps need to run properly
  • Email Attachments: Outlook’s winmail.dat files contain emails formatted in Rich Text Format (RTF)

Locating DAT Files on Your Windows 10 Computer

To open a DAT file, you first need to locate where it is saved on your Windows 10 computer. Here are some tips for finding DAT files:

  • Check Downloads Folder: If you recently downloaded a DAT file, it may be in your Downloads folder
  • Search File Explorer: Use the search bar in File Explorer to search your entire system for files with the “.dat” extension
  • Show File Extensions: Make sure you have file extensions enabled in Folder Options so DAT files display their “.dat” extension visibly

Once you’ve located the DAT file you want to open, move on to the next steps.

Open DAT Text Files in a Text Editor

Many DAT files contain data in plain text format. These can easily be opened in any text editing application.

On Windows 10, the built-in Notepad and Wordpad text editors work well for viewing text-based DAT files. You can also use other popular text editors like Notepad++ and Sublime Text.

To open a text-based DAT file in a text editor:

  1. Right-click on the DAT file and select Open With > Choose Another App
  2. Select your preferred text editor from the list
  3. The DAT file will now open in the text editor

You can then view, edit, copy, and search through the plain text contents of the DAT file.

Open Video DAT Files in a Media Player

Some DAT files contain video data from sources like Video CDs (VCDs). These video DAT files can be opened and played back using media players.

The most common media players that support video DAT files include:

  • Windows Media Player
  • VLC Media Player
  • Media Player Classic

To open a video DAT file:

  1. Locate the DAT file in File Explorer
  2. Right-click and select Open With
  3. Choose your preferred media player app
  4. The video should now start playing in the media player

You can use the media player’s controls to pause, fast forward, rewind, and adjust the volume of the video as needed.

Convert DAT Files to Other Formats

If you need to convert the contents of a DAT file to another file format, there are several converter tools that can help:

  • Text Converter Tools: Convert text-based DAT files to formats like PDF, DOC, HTML, etc.
  • Video Converter Tools: Convert video DAT files to common formats like MP4, AVI, MOV
  • Universal File Viewers: File Viewer Plus and other tools can open DAT files and convert to other formats

These converter tools provide an easy way to export and save the contents of your DAT files in more usable and sharable formats.

Troubleshooting DAT Files That Won’t Open

Sometimes when you try to open a DAT file, you may get errors indicating the data is corrupted or the file cannot be accessed. Some troubleshooting tips include:

  • Try opening the file with different applications to see if another program can read it
  • Scan for viruses/malware just in case the DAT file contains threats
  • Reboot your computer and try opening the file again after restarting
  • Use DAT recovery software to attempt to repair corrupted DAT files

If none of those help get the DAT file open, it likely cannot be recovered or opened with consumer software. At that point, you may need to reach out to a data recovery professional for assistance.


DAT files are generic data containers created by various applications to store program data, videos, text, and other information. To open DAT files on your Windows 10 computer:

  • Use text editors like Notepad to view text-based DAT data
  • Play video DAT files in media players like VLC and Windows Media Player
  • Convert DAT file contents to other formats using converter tools
  • Try troubleshooting tips if your DAT file won’t open properly

Learning the different types of data DAT files can hold and having the right software installed to access them makes it easier to open DAT files when needed.