Home : File Types : DAT File

.DAT File Extension

File Type 1Data File

DeveloperN/A
Popularity
4.1 (2180 Votes)
CategoryData Files
FormatText and Binary

What is a DAT file?

A DAT file is a generic data file created by a specific application. It may contain data in binary or text format. DAT files are typically accessed only by the application that created them.

How do I open a DAT file?

Many programs create, open, or reference DAT files. However, most DAT files are used only for application support and are not meant to be opened manually by users. Text-based DAT files can be viewed in any text editor.

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Programs that open DAT files

Windows
Original program that created the file
Mac
Original program that created the file
Updated 3/2/2021

File Type 2Piriform DAT File

DeveloperPiriform
Popularity
4.0 (646 Votes)
CategoryMisc Files
FormatN/A

.DAT File Association 2

A DAT file is a data file used by Piriform applications, such as CCleaner, Speccy, Defraggler, and Recuva. It acts as a flag, telling a Piriform application to operate in portable mode, which is used when users want to run a Piriform application from a USB drive, or when users do not want to leave traces on a computer system.

More Information

To run a Piriform application in portable mode, create a blank file named piriform.dat and save it to the application's installation directory. For example, for CCleaner, the file can be saved to C:\Program Files\CCleaner\. After the file is saved, CCleaner will store program settings in a file named CCleaner.ini, rather than using other storage locations, such as the Windows registry.

NOTE: The contents of the piriform.dat file do not matter. Therefore, an empty file or a non-empty file that contains data will produce the same result.

Common DAT Filenames

portable.dat - The name of the DAT file used by the Piriform application to operate as the portable version.

Programs that open DAT files

Updated 9/22/2017

File Type 3Minecraft Data File

DeveloperMojang Specifications
Popularity
4.1 (448 Votes)
CategoryGame Files
FormatBinary

.DAT File Association 3

A DAT file is a data file used by Minecraft, a 3D exploration and construction game. It is saved in a compressed Gzip format and may save various kinds of data, including player inventory, player position, and world information. DAT files are used for saving world state information as well as for tracking player progress.

More Information

DAT files were also used for storing level "chunks," which are small map pieces that are loaded on demand as a player navigates through the world. This format was introduced beginning with the Minecraft Infdev version, and the chunks used a 16 x 16 x 128 map dimension. Beginning with the Minecraft version 1.3 beta release, a new format called "Region" was introduced, which stores chunks with the .MCR extension. Subsequently, the .MCA format, called "Anvil," was introduced with patch 1.2.1.

Minecraft DAT files have used different formats over incremental releases of the game. Therefore, one DAT file from one version of the game may not be compatible with another version.

NOTE: Minecraft is a first-person perspective game where players construct and destroy blocks and avoid monsters in a 3D environment. Minecraft server is a Java program that runs as a command-line interface.

Common DAT Filenames

level.dat - The Minecraft data file storing world information such as the player, the level generator used, and the time of day.

Programs that open DAT files

Windows
Mac
Linux
Updated 9/27/2016

File Type 4Piriform Key File

DeveloperPiriform
Popularity
4.1 (405 Votes)
CategoryData Files
FormatText

.DAT File Association 4

Key file used by Piriform applications, such as CCleaner and Recuva, that help users manage their PCs; contains the registry key number that is referenced by the application in order to operate in the appropriate mode.

More Information

NOTE: If the file is moved or deleted from its location in the application directory, the application will operate in the trial mode instead of the purchased mode.

Programs that open DAT files

Updated 8/19/2014

File Type 5Inno Setup Uninstaller Data File

DeveloperJordan Russel
Popularity
4.1 (253 Votes)
CategoryMisc Files
FormatBinary

.DAT File Association 5

File created by Inno Setup, a program used for making Windows program installers and uninstallers; typically named unins000.dat (or a similar name) and is located in the program installation directory; contains data that helps Inno Setup uninstall the program when the user chooses to do so from the Windows Control Panel.

More Information

Inno Setup ".dat" file has a corresponding .EXE file named unins000.exe (or a similar name). When the executable is run, it uses the information in unins000.dat to uninstall the program from the Windows computer.

Programs that open DAT files

Windows
Referenced by Jrsoftware Inno Setup uninstaller
Updated 9/27/2012

File Type 6Windows Registry Hive File

DeveloperMicrosoft
Popularity
4.0 (246 Votes)
CategorySystem Files
FormatBinary

.DAT File Association 6

The Microsoft Windows registry uses DAT files to store user settings. Examples include passwords, account settings, and file associations. Certain DAT files are loaded when a user logs into Windows.

More Information

A common registry hive file is NTUSER.DAT, which stores user-level registry information. It is located in the following directory:

C:\Users\[user]\

NOTE: NTUSER files contain important user settings and should not be deleted.

Another common DAT file is SCHEMA.DAT, which is a registry backup and restore file. It is located in:

C:\Windows\System32\SMI\Store\Machine\

Common DAT Filenames

NTUSER.DAT - stores Windows settings for a specific user

SCHEMA.DAT - Windows registry backup and restore file

Programs that open DAT files

Windows
Updated 5/1/2020

File Type 7Exchange E-mail Attachment

DeveloperMicrosoft
Popularity
3.9 (159 Votes)
CategoryMisc Files
FormatBinary

.DAT File Association 7

Winmail.dat files contain formatting information for Rich Text (RTF) messages sent from Microsoft Exchange Server. They are added to the end of emails when a recipient's email client does not support RTF messages. The Winmail.dat file is not useful to users that do not use Outlook or Exchange Server to retrieve their mail.

More Information

Read more about Winmail.dat files, including how to open them and how to prevent them from being sent.

Common DAT Filenames

Winmail.dat - A file attached to the end of email messages when an email program cannot read the rich text formatting data from the source email. This file originates from a Microsoft Exchange Server.

Programs that open DAT files

Updated 6/25/2020

File Type 8VCD Video File

DeveloperN/A
Popularity
3.6 (168 Votes)
CategoryVideo Files
FormatBinary

.DAT File Association 8

A DAT file contains a video stream from a Video CD (VCD) disc. It stores the actual video data played from the VCD, and is typically saved in MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 format. VCDs were briefly popular in the 1990s for distributing movies and home videos before DVDs.

More Information
Screenshot of a .dat file in VideoLAN VLC media player 3.0.12
DAT file open in VideoLAN VLC media player 3.0.12

The VCD format was developed by Sony, Philips, JVC, and Matsushita and released in 1993. It became a popular method for distributing films in various parts of Asia. However, the disc format was replaced by DVDs, which offered more video storage and better copyright security.

If you find old VCDs with videos that you want to view you can play them with a VCD video player, but those are rare. If you do not have access to a VCD player, you can play them on your computer with a CD/DVD disc drive. In this case, you will most likely need to open and play the actual DAT files, which are typically located in the MPEGAV folder on the disc.

How do I open a DAT file?

You can open and play DAT files with various media players. Some options include VideoLAN VLC media player (multiplatform), CyberLink PowerDirector (multiplatform), and MPlayer (multiplatform).

You can also convert DAT video files to other more common video formats, such as .MP4 and .MPG, with CyberLink PowerDirector (multiplatform) and VCDGear (multiplatform).

Programs that open DAT files

Updated 4/5/2021

File Type 9Porteus Save Container File

DeveloperPorteus Team
Popularity
4.0 (111 Votes)
CategoryData Files
FormatN/A

.DAT File Association 9

System save file used by Porteus, a portable Linux operating system (OS); contains saved changes that have been made to the Porteus OS; includes changes to system settings, bookmarks, downloaded files, and browser history.

More Information

The DAT file is used as a container that holds alterations you have made to Porteus, which enables you to keep your OS the same when installing it to other devices. It is a necessary container file if you are installing Porteus to devices formatted with a Windows file system. The file is used to retain data, such as symlinks, and Linux permissions, to run your system properly.

To create a DAT file container to save your customizations, boot Porteus into the KDE, Xfce, or LXDE desktop interfaces. After the boot is complete, open the menu and select System → Porteus save.dat manager. Then follow the prompts to finish creating your DAT file.

Common DAT Filenames

porteussave.dat - Common filename given when saving an OS session.

Programs that open DAT files

Linux
Updated 10/23/2014

File Type 10Nonimmigrant Visa Application Data File

DeveloperU.S. Department of State
Popularity
3.9 (91 Votes)
CategoryData Files
FormatBinary

.DAT File Association 10

Application form data file created by the U.S. Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-160) process, which is made available from the U.S. Department of State's Consular Electronic Application Center; created by the online, browser-based application and contains data such as personal background information; used for saving and loading the application through the online form filing process.

Programs that open DAT files

Updated 3/1/2012

File Type 11SimCity 4 Game Data File

DeveloperElectronic Arts
Popularity
3.9 (84 Votes)
CategoryGame Files
FormatBinary

.DAT File Association 11

Game package file used by SimCity 4, a city building simulation game; may contain several types of game data files, including .SC4MODEL, .SC4LOT, and .SC4DESC files; used for packaging files into usable content for the game.

More Information

SimCity 4 DAT files can be browsed using iLives Reader or DatGen (developed by DarkMatter).

Programs that open DAT files

Updated 8/12/2015

File Type 12GameMaker Studio Game Audio Data Package

DeveloperYoYo Games
Popularity
3.3 (7 Votes)
CategoryGame Files
FormatN/A

.DAT File Association 12

A DAT file is a game data package created by GameMaker Studio, a cross-platform game engine. It contains a group of .WAV sound effect files that are featured in a game developed by GameMaker Studio. The DAT files are distributed with the game for which they contain audio assets.

More Information

GameMaker DAT files are created when a game developer chooses to save audio featured in a game in a package separate from the primary game asset package. The DAT files are not meant to be opened by a user. However, users that enjoy modifying gameplay can open DAT files with UndertaleModTool.

NOTE: Users should not modify games that they are legally restricted from modifying.

Programs that open DAT files

Windows
Updated 3/20/2020

File Type 13Nintendo Wii DAT File

DeveloperRedump.org
Popularity
2.0 (1 Vote)
CategoryGame Files
FormatText

.DAT File Association 13

A Nintendo Wii DAT file is a text file that was created by Redump.org. It contains XML-formatted text that is used to verify whether a Wii game has been dumped correctly. Redump.org's Wii DAT file is named wii.dat.

More Information
Screenshot of a .dat file in GitHub Atom
DAT file open in GitHub Atom

Nintendo Wii gamers who want to back up their games or play them on PC-based Wii emulators may dump the games into .ISO files. For example, gamers might use the Homebrew Channel and CleanRip applications to create an ISO copy of a game. To verify that CleanRip properly dumped a game, gamers can check the ISO file's checksum against the verified checksum included in Redump.org's wii.dat file. If the checksums match, it means CleanRip created a perfect copy of the game.

Typically, CleanRip automatically downloads and uses wii.dat to verify dumps. However, if gamers want to manually verify a dump, they can download their own copy of wii.dat from various Wii wikis and forums.

How do I open a DAT file?

Wii.dat is a plain text file, so you can open and examine it in any text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad (Windows), Apple TextEdit (Mac), or GitHub Atom (cross-platform).

Programs that open DAT files

Windows
Included with OS
Mac
Included with OS
Chrome OS
Included with OS
Updated 2/19/2021

About DAT Files

Our goal is to help you understand what a file with a *.dat suffix is and how to open it.

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