Types of computer files and their uses

Types of computer files and their uses

A lot of people use computers all over the world. You can barely find one person who does not at least know what this technology is used for. A computer is not so huge, but it is pretty incredible how much information it contains! Everyone knows that there are files in it. And today we will talk more about them. Let's learn about types of computer files.

Types of computer files and their uses

List of types of computer files

Types of computer files

A file is the named data space on the computer storage. The process of working with files is realized by means of operating systems. A lot of operating systems lead to the existence of files and other similar processes:

- data area (optional on disk);

- devices - both physical and virtual;

- data streams;

- network resources, sockets;

- other objects of the operating system.

Computer files

Speaking of computer files in a general sense, we can distinguish the following types:

1. Documents. These are files which can be exemplified by notepad, Open Office Excel, MS Word, and others.

2. Program files are the executable files.

3. System files - these are files which you don't use but they must be on your computer for it to function well (files inside a hidden Windows folder, registry files, and a few others are great example).

4. Multimedia files. These are your movies, music and other similar things.

5. Archive fails - these files are compressed folders, back-ups, archives and more.

Concept of computer files

Computer file

Computer files are the most basic unit of data that users can store on a disk. This means that every picture on your computer, every card, song, video, movie, presentation are all files. Depending on the filing system, the files may have different set of properties.

A file consists of records and logical units of a fixed size. It can have an arbitrary size depending on the record format. It is often assumed that a file is available at once in its entirety, in an arbitrary order from beginning to end. An array of information which is available only sequentially in this case is called a stream.


Speaking of the operating system, the record is a byte and is the most common unit for measuring the volume of files. This is the de-facto standard for the computer world. But other types of records are also used in specialized systems.

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Very often, the file extension is used to identify the format, i.e the end part of the filename starting with a period. For example, if the full filename is sweet home.jpg, then the extension is jpg (sometimes indicated with the dot: .jpg).

You see, it is not so difficult to understand the meaning and functions of a computer file. We use files every day and sometimes we do not even notice it.

Classification of computer files

Types of files

You cannot even imagine how many different types of files are on your computers. Except those that were named (and those that you know).

For organisational purposes, files are divided into random access files and files with sequential access. Random access files are files that store information in a structured (for searching and reversing) form. In such files the search is carried out through addresses (keys) and ends with a provision of the desired file.

The disk space occupied by such a file is divided into identical parts (records) having the same field structure. For example, under the first field of each record, 128 bits can be assigned. Under the second - 1024 bits. And this place will be allocated for these fields of each record, regardless of the availability and amount of data in these fields.

Sequential files are files that store information in an unstructured (for searching and reversing) form. In such files, the search is carried out by sequential reading of the file from the beginning and by comparing the "whole" with the one you are looking for. Accessing a certain section of the file each time requires "reading from the beginning". An example of sequential files are text files (* .txt).


In different operating and file systems, different types of filing can be implemented and these types can, again differ.

"Ordinary file" is a file that allows reading, writing, positioning within a file, resizing and sometimes working with attributes.

A directory is a file containing entries about the files included in it. Directories can contain entries about other directories which form a tree structure, and if there are references - a network structure.

Hard link - in general, the same area of information can have several names. Such names are called hard links (hard links). After creating a hard link, to say where the "real" file is, and where the hard link is is impossible because the names are the same.. The data area itself exists as long as at least one of the names exists. Hard links are possible only within one copy of the FS.


Symbolic link is a file that contains a link to the name of the desired file of any type. It can refer to any element of the file system and be located on another physical media. Also, the FS can refer to a non-existent file, form loops or refer to itself.

Now, you know for sure what file is. There are a lot of different types of files on our computers. And we use them very often. We listen to music, we download pictures which we like from different sites. In addition, we print documents and watch films. All these things are files and they have different format and extension.

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Source: Legit.ng

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