Are you wondering why you cannot open an important file on your Windows system? If the file you downloaded and want to open starts with “._” in the file name, it might not launch at all. So, let’s see why and how you can fix it.
Why can’t I open files that have the ._ prefix?
Here we have a .pdf file that won’t open. The file claims to be corrupt and doesn’t seem to have any real data to display. These files can be .pdf, but also any other type of file extension, such as .jpeg, which has no image preview.
The simple reason that you cannot open these files is that they came from the macOS computer and are not the actual files that you want to open.
Files with the ._ prefix are simply a lightweight copy of the original file, used by macOS to quickly index the file in searches or to create restore points for file recovery. These are HFS+ files, and Windows can’t do anything with them because they belong to a different file system (what file system?).
How to open files with ._ prefix on Windows
Unfortunately, these files are not real files. They are just copies of some metadata that only macOS can interface with. In fact, they are not even made to be viewed by the end user. They are hidden by default on Mac.
This means that Windows has no functions to interact with them – they are mostly junk files. Some users report success renaming the file to remove the prefix, but this is unlikely to result in a repair of the file.
The best way to access these files would be to copy them again from whatever Mac computer they originally came from.
Why do I see files with a ._ prefix?
The obvious answer is that you got these files from the Mac system. This could be from a portable drive you copied the file from, but it could also be from less obvious sources.
For example, you can share a cloud-based service, such as Dropbox, with the Mac system. You may also be sharing a work network with a Mac system, which increases the likelihood of these errant files appearing where they shouldn’t be.
filesystem is in the way
With so many different file systems on other platforms, it can be confusing and frustrating when one platform cannot interface with file systems from another.
It’s essential to recognize when you’re viewing a file from another file system and have a rough idea of what that file actually contains. In this scenario, no relevant data is appended to the files with ._. If you have one on Windows, you’ll need to go back to the Mac system you obtained them from.
There are hundreds of thousands of files in Windows, but not all are created equal—some are more important than others. The OS contains special types of files known as system files, and they play a vital and sometimes critical role in helping Windows and its various components function properly. That’s why it’s a good idea to know what you can do about them.
So what are system files on Windows, where can you find them, and how can you fix them if something goes wrong? let’s find out.
What are system files on Windows?
System files are files that processes, apps, and device drivers on Windows need to operate properly. Without them, you’ll notice, for example, that some processes are causing errors, apps are crashing, and hardware isn’t working. In some scenarios, damaged or missing system files can result in system shutdown, restart or even crash.
A popular example of a system file is kernel32.dll, and one of its main functions is memory management, which means it makes sure Windows, its processes, and apps have enough memory to operate. A corrupted Kernel32.dll can cause all kinds of memory problems on your computer. For example, apps will try to occupy the same space in random access memory (RAM), causing errors or system crashes.