I have an image that I know somehow got renamed and does not have a normal image extension (i.e. it's definitely not .jpg .gif .png, etc) but rather some random non-image temp extension.

Is there a program or way for me to scan my drive to find all images based on the content-type of the files rather than the name or extension?

I'm thinking this has to be a deep-scan of sorts to really do this.


If you're SURE you made it without an extension, there's not many files in the Windows directory that don't have extensions, so it should be easy to locate.

From a command prompt, run this:

dir c:\windows\*. /s /A-D /b > c:\files.txt

Then you'll have a list of every single file without an extension in a text file called files.txt in the root of your C:

You can probably ignore most of the really obvious directories.

Next time, how about a password protected .rar file? ;)

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  1. Install IfranView (it's free).
  2. Click Options and then go into Properties/Settings
  3. Tick the Other box, highlighted below: enter image description here

  4. Press Ctrl+F to bring up the search dialog box. Search within C:\Windows (or wherever else you think the image/photo was). You can tick the box to search subfolders. If you really have absolutely no idea where it is, you could theoretically search the entire C:\ drive, if you have a couple of hours to sift through the thumbnails for every single file on your computer.

  5. Click Start Search and let it produce a list of files
  6. Click the Show in Thumbnails button
  7. Simply scroll through the list and each subdirectory until you see the thumbnail of your image/photo. Easy peasy, if you have the time. enter image description here

I guess my secret love for monorail cat is no longer a secret :(

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Linux systems have a 'file' tool that can tell you if a file is a jpg file by content, not by extension. Look into cygwin, maybe it has this tool too.

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the image might have Exif data in to, so you could do a case-sensitive search for Exif.

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  • Thanks for the help. What would I use, windows search? Do I just search for "Exif"? – Peter Feb 13 '11 at 16:11

What OS are you using? If you're on Windows 7 and remember any other properties of the image such as date modified or size, you can just specify kind:=picture and supply values for the other properties, and Windows should run off and fetch a list. Set the view to be thumbnails so that you help you do a visual search of the image files on your drive.

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If you've accessed the file recently it could be amongst the ones listed under Documents in your Start menu (I don't know if there is Documents item on Windows 7 though). If it's there, you may at least see what its extension is if only the name has been renamed.

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