Want the convenience of FILExt on your desktop? You can have it if you have the Google Desktop installed. FILExt now has a Gadget that works with the Google Desktop.

FILExt Gadget

The FILExt Gadget is basically a window into the FILExt database. The database remains on the Web but the Gadget allows you to query it for basic information and then, when you've found the information you require, come directly to it on the FILExt site via links from the Gadget. Get the Gadget here...

Get the FILExt Gadget
Note: You need to have the Google
Desktop installed before the FILEXT
Gadget will be able to run.

How to Use the FILExt Gadget

Download the Gadget from the link above. If you saved it on your hard drive and have the Google Desktop installed and running then just double click on the filext.gg file and the Desktop should take it from there. Just say "Yes" that you want to install the Gadget. If you don't already have the Google Desktop see the paragraph later on this page.

For the following I'll be using the Gadget in standalone mode but the information applies as well if the Gadget is installed as part of the Sidebar feature of the Google Desktop.

There are three basic ways to use the Gadget to search the FILExt database:

  • Type the file extension into the Gadget search box and press the Enter key.
  • Type the full file name (including the file extension) you are researching into the Gadget search box and press the Enter key.
  • Drag and drop the file onto the Gadget search box. The Gadget will capture the full name of the file. Then, press the Enter key.

Any of these methods will send a request to the FILExt website and data will be returned to the Gadget.

Here is the Gadget
FILExt Gadget

Here is the Gadget with data
for the extension .PSPIMAGE

Fill-in FILExt Gadget

Note that the returned data has two components:

  • Programs found. This is a listing of programs that are in the FILExt database and specifically known to use the entered file extension.
  • Program IDs registered. This is a listing of program IDs that are known to be associated with programs that at least read files with the entered file extension. The program ID is important because various programs will register their association with a particular file extension in the registry. Some of these are viewers; others are editors. In the example above note the Paint Shop Pro is the main program that uses .PSPIMAGE however viewers like XnView or SmartPix also register the file extension and should be able to open it.

Double clicking on any of the entries that are returned will open a browser window and take you to the page on the FILExt website that describes the file extension in question. In the case of Program IDs, scroll down the page and you will see the specific .EXE file that registers the extension. If no programs are listed for an extension but an .EXE file registers it that can give you a strong clue as to what the file might be.

Submit Your Program IDs to FILExt

By using the Windows assoc and ftype commands you can generate a list of all registered file extensions and program IDs on your system and submit it to FILExt. A batch file to do this is described in this FAQ. But, if you have the FILExt Gadget this process can now happen automatically! Simply open the menu on the Gadget and select the option "Submit my file extensions..." from the menu. A dialog will appear asking if you want to do this and when you click Yes on that dialog the Gadget will run the Windows commands assoc and ftype on your system, record the output to a temporary file, send that file to FILExt, and then delete the temporary file. There is no personal information in this submission, it only identifies the IP address the submission came from (as do all Internet connection requests), and it will be merged with thousands of others. The Gadget will show you the status of this process.

Submit to FILExt

Google Desktop

The Desktop is an information application that will help you search both the Internet and your own computer should you wish to index the information on your computer (you don't have to; the option is yours). The Desktop also provides a mechanism by which various Gadgets (mini-applications) can help provide you with real-time information either on request or constantly.

If you don't have Google's Desktop installed, get it here as part of the Google Pack of essential software (you can install any or all of the applications via Google's setup program)...

Frequently Asked Questions About the Gadget

  • Why do I need to install the Google Desktop?
    The Desktop contains the software that the Gadget uses for its operation. The Gadget (and all Google Gadgets) can remain fairly small because the Desktop processes Gadget commands.
  • I want to use the FILExt Gadget but the Desktop slows my system down. How do I fix this?
    While Google strives to minimize this side effect of the Desktop, a system slowdown can be seen on some slower systems when the Desktop indexes files on your computer. If you don't mind not having your computer's files indexed, you can open the Desktop's Options and select Preferences. In the Local Indexing tab uncheck everything except Disable indexing of new items and specifically add each drive letter on your computer to the Don't search these items list. This will disable one of the handier features of the Desktop but allow you to run Gadgets with no system slowdown caused by the local indexing.
  • Why does clicking on one program in the results take me to a page with all results?
    The FILExt database is currently organized in a way that requires the return of all results for a file extension when a search is performed. So, until the database is reorganized a search will return all results. In a future Gadget release clicking on a single entry is planned to send you to that specific entry only. But, no promises on which version or when.[Smile]
  • Why does my firewall say the FILExt Gadget is trying to access the Internet?
    Because it is.[Smile] When you search, the Gadget sends a query to the FILExt website just like a Web browser and then interprets and shows the results that come back. Also, if you ask the Gadget to send your computer's file extension associations to FILExt then the Internet is used for that purpose as well. You should allow the Gadget to do these things or it will do you no good.
  • How do I uninstall the FILExt Gadget?
    Well, we'd hate to have you quit as a user but to uninstall the Gadget simply click on the down arrow on the right side of the Gadget menu bar and select the Remove option (see the picture above).

The FILExt gadget was developed for Computer Knowledge by Aaron Feuer / Airbear Software.

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