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BAK File

BAK files are typically created by an operating system or a third-party application to store a temporary copy of file while original file is being moved, changed or renamed. The naming of this file extension originated from DOS (Disk Operating System) when these files were used to store backup of various system and user files in case original file get corrupted or deleted.

In order to open and use BAK file it is required to know which application generated it. Frequently BAK file extension is appended to a file without deleting an original file extension which makes it easier to figure out the type of the original file and open it with corresponding application. If original file name is not available, you can either try to infer a file type from the file name or try to open a file in HEX or text editor and see if you can figure out file type by looking at the file content.

Typically, it is not dangerous to open BAK files. However, there were cases when worms and other viruses were sent through e-mail using BAK extension as part of the filename in order to confuse and deceive the recipient of the e-mail. File may be named “interesting_file.bak.vbs” where actual file is a Visual Basic Script but some e-mail clients will display it as “interesting_file.bak”. This can trick user into clicking on that file and launching a malicious attack on the computer. That is why it is important to have an anti-virus installed with real time file checking mechanism. Such anti-virus will prevent a user from launching a malicious file even if it was downloaded from the internet.

Many BAK files are considered to be temporary files and are not needed by the software which generated it. That is why there are many scripts and software packages which delete BAK files from computer as part of disk usage reduction process.

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