Guide to Types of File-Sharing Downloads

Zeropaid member gives the rundown on just about every conceivable file type you’ll encounter while using P2P or file-sharing programs.

Even for the file-sharing veterans out there it can oftentimes be difficult to figure out exactly what you’ve downloaded and what they’re purpose is.

For BitTorrent users, .nfo and .sfv files are a perfect example.

In any event, “Miniver,” a member here at ZeroPaid, has taken the time to give the rundown on just about every conceivable file type you’ll encounter while using P2P or file-sharing programs.


Compression Files
.rar, .zip, .ace, .r01, .001

These extensions are quite common and mean that your file(s) are compressed into an “archive”. This is just a way of making the files more compact and easier to download.

To open any of those archives listed above you can use WinRAR (USERS GUIDE) or PowerArchiver.

If those progams aren’t working for you and you have a .zip file you can try WinZip, or 7-Zip.

If the two first mentioned programs aren’t working for you and you have a .ace or .001 file you can try Winace (Trial version).

.cbr, .cbz

These are usually comic books in an archive format. a .cbr file is actually the same thing as a .rar file and a .cbz file is the same as a .zip file. However, often when opening them with WinRAR or WinZip it will disorder your pages. To display these archives properly it’s often best to use CDisplay.

Multimedia Files
.avi, .mpg, .mpeg, .divx, .xvid, .wmv, .asf

These files are usually movies or TVshows, or a host of other types of media. They can be viewed using various media players including Windows Media Player, but I suggest using Zoomplayer, BSPlayer, VLC media player or Media Player Classic. Also, you’ll need to make sure you have the right codecs to play each individual file. Codecs are a tricky business sometimes so to help you out with your file and what exact codecs it needs try using GSpot. It tells you what codecs you need. Then just look on the net to find them.

**Read more in our guide to audio & video codecs**

**Also read “MPEG Deconstructed”**

The K-Lite Codec Pack is a collection of codecs and related tools. Codecs are needed for encoding and decoding (playing) audio and video. The user-friendly installation is fully customizable, which means that you can install only those components that you want.

There are three versions of the K-Lite Codec Pack: The Basic version, who fits on a single floppy disk, contains only the most essential codecs and related tools. The Standard version contains everything what is needed to play all the commonly used formats. The Full version contains even more codecs and also has encoding support.

K-Lite Codec Pack 2.27 Full (8.14 Mb)
K-Lite Codec Pack 2.27 Standard (4.35 Mb)
K-Lite Codec Pack 2.27 Basic (1.33 Mb)

**Also recomended is Ace Mega Codecs, it contains just about every codec you’ll ever need and then some**

Alternately you could download codecs individually, here’s a few.

ffdshow (Recommended! (plays many formats: XviD, DivX, 3ivX, mpeg-4))
XviD codec
DivX codec
ac3filter (for AC3 soundtracks, aka “5.1”)
Ogg Vorbis (for .OGM files)


These are QuickTime files. There are alternatives to the original program, if like me, you don’t like it. Check out Quick Time Alternative or Media Player Classic which can play these files so long as you have the codec already installed.

.ra, .rm, .ram

These are RealPlayer files. I’m not a big fan of Realplayer. It installs lord knows what on your system and never really goes away when you want to uninstall it. Still if you insists you can get the player here. There are however alternatives to the original program, check out Real Alternative and Media Player Classic.

vcd / svcd

These can be a pain on some peoples setups, but more so, on your stand-alone DVD player. Not all dvd players will play vcd/svcds, and some will play vcd but not svcd. There is a searchable database for dvd player compatibility here.And a list here.

For working with disk images of vcd/svcds (.bin/.cue, .iso, .ccd/.img/.sub) see the cd image section below.

.vob, .ifo, .bup (Video_ts folder)

Usually these files will come all together in one folder called video_ts. This is a direct backup of a dvd’s file system. Use Nero to burn them onto a dvdr by selecting “dvd video” from the dvd menu.

.mp3, .mp2

Play them with WinAmp or your favorite audio player. Most new dvd players support the playing of mp3 cds. Making mp3 cds lets you put 100+ mp3 files on a cd for playing on your dvd player, computer, or portable mp3 cd player. However, they will not work on a regular cd player.

.ogm, .ogg

Ogg Vorbis media files. You can find out more about them and download applications Here. This filetype is another encoding format that can be used for various media. Any new version of WinAmp will also do.

.ape, .flac, .shn

These are music files which have been compressed using lossless codecs. This means that all of the original sound and frequencies have been retained. Most audio codecs, including the mp3 format are lossy codecs which discard certain frequency ranges in favor of smaller file sizes. For the free lossless audio codec or flac see here. For Monkeys audio codec or ape see here. For Shorten or shn see here.

CD Image Files
.bin and .cue

These are your standard images of a CD, and are used quite alot these days. To open them you have a couple options.

**Read more in our guide “What are BIN, CUE, and ISO files?”**

You can burn them using Nero (USERS GUIDE), DVD Decrypter (USERS GUIDE), or Alcohol 120%, but this proves to be soooooooo problematic for a lot of people.

You can also use Daemon Tools (USERS GUIDE), which lets you mount the image to a “virtual cd-rom”, so basically it tricks your computer into thinking that you have another cd-rom and that you’re putting a cd with your image file on it into this virtual cd-rom, it’s great cuz you’ll never make a bad cd again.

Alcohol 120% also sports a virtual cd-rom feature. Finally, if you’re still struggling to access the files contained within any given image file you can use CDMage to extract the files and then burn them, or just access them from your hard drive.

You can also use VCDGear to extract the mpeg contents of a SVCD or VCD image file such as bin/cue.


Another type of image file that follows similar rules as .bin and .cue, only you extract or create them using WinISO or Isobuster. Sometimes converting a problematic .bin and .cue file to an .iso can help you burn it to a cd. Examples of programs that burns iso’s are: Nero (USERS GUIDE), and Alcohol 120% but there are many, many more!

.ccd, .img, .sub

All these files go together and are in the CloneCD format. CloneCD is like most other CD-Burning programs, see the .bin and .cue section if you’re having problems with these files.


These are Discjuggler image files. Alcohol 120% is able burn these. Daemon Tools and Alcohol 120% can mount them.


Another type of image file created with Nero. As far as I know these are not mountable, except maybe by Nero. These are also apparently only usable by the version of Nero that created them. I don’t recommend using these, as I’ve had nothing but problems with them.

.mds .mdf

These are media descriptor files created with Alcohol 120%. They are mountable using either Daemon Tools or Alcohol 120%.

.bwt .bwi .bws

I haven’t really encountered these much, but some people still use them. These are Blindwrite image files. Bur with Alcohol 120% or mount with Daemon Tools or Alcohol 120%.

Other Files
.txt, .doc

These are text files. .txt files can be opened with notepad or watever you default text editor happens to be, and .doc are opened with Microsoft Word. Be careful when opening .doc files from unknown sources, they may contain macro viruses.


These contain information about the file you just downloaded, and it’s HIGHLY recommended that you read these! They will usually contain information regarding: the particular release group, the release date, the encoding method used (xvid, divx, vcd, svcd…) and format (ntsc/pal) for movie files; any cracks, keygens or cd-keys for applications and games; and various other pieces of important information. They are plain text files, often with ascii-art. You can open them with Notepad, Wordpad, Damn NFO Viewer or UltraEdit.

Unfortunately Windows uses this extension for it’s system info program so simply double-clicking on the file probably wont work.

On Windows Xp

Right click on the .nfo file and select “properties”
click the button marked “change”
click “select the program from list”
click “ok”
select the program you would like to deal with this filetype
check the box next to “Always use the selected program to open this type of file”
click ok.
Now any time you double click on a .nfo file, it will open correctly.


Adobe Portable Document Format

Like Microsoft Word documents these can contain text, pictures and formatting. Unlike Microsoft Word documents, they cannot contain viruses, and cannot be modified easily. Open with Adobe Acrobat Reader or FoxIt.

.jpeg, .gife .tgae .psde .png

Basic image files. These files generally contain pictures, and can be opened with Adobe Photoshop or whatever your default image viewer is.


Checks to make sure that your multi-volume archives are complete. This just lets you know if you’ve downloaded something complete or not. You probably will only need to use this file type if you are downloading off of newsgroups. Because most releases come from the newsgroups, these files tend to show up on file sharing networks. You can open/activate these files with SFVChecker (Trial version) or HKsfv for example.

.p** (where the asterisks are numbers)

These are parity files, and are often used when downloading from newsgroups. Parity files are usually posted along with the original files, with an index file at the beginning of a post and different sizes of volumes at the end of a post. These files can fill in gaps when you’re downloading something from a newsgroup and get corrupted or missing parts. Open them with QuickPar.

[Hat tip to Miniver]

**NOTE: If after reading this you still don’t know how to use a file with a particular extension, please feel free to ask about it in this thread in the ZeroPaid forums. You can also check here.**