Easy Steps on How to Open BAK Files on Your Computer


The digital world we inhabit is filled with numerous file formats, each with its unique functions and uses – one such format are BAK files. A BAK file, primarily known as a backup file, is created by automatic backup procedures or by duplicating an original file. This article revolves around understanding BAK files, their practical uses, the software that opens them, and comprehensive instructions on how to open these files across different operating systems.

Understanding BAK Files

A BAK file is an auxiliary file, created as a backup of the original data. Most software applications, from word processors to databases, create BAK files. They come in handy for data recovery, owing to the stored information they possess, which mirrors the original file.

Creation of BAK Files

BAK files are automatically created when software applications initiate their built-in backup process. However, they’re also manually created by users who wish to protect their work and maintain copies of vital data. This conscious effort to create BAK files is crucial in environments where data integrity and security are top priority.

Stored Information in BAK Files

BAK files store varying types of information, dependent on the nature and purpose of the original file. This could range from text documents and spreadsheets to image files and databases. Often, they contain previous versions of a file or system, valuable in data recovery processes.

BAK Files and Data Recovery

In instances of unforeseen system errors, unintended deletions, or data corruption, BAK files serve as a reliable rescue plan. They greatly ease the process of data recovery due to their nature of duplicating original files, making them an insurance policy against data loss.

Software that Support Opening BAK Files

There are countless software options available for different platforms that can open BAK files. These include proprietary software, like Microsoft SQL Server for .bak database files, and generic software suitable for different types of BAK files.

Software options for Windows Users

For Windows users, software like Notepad, TextPad, File Viewer Plus, and Microsoft SQL Server prove useful in opening BAK files.

Software options for Mac Users

Mac users can employ TextEdit, Apple Disk Utility, File Viewer, or SQLPro for SQLite to open BAK files.

Software options for Linux Users

In the Linux environment, Gedit, Vim, or GNU Emacs are trusted tools for opening BAK files.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Open BAK Files

The process of opening BAK files is platform-dependent. Here are guides catered to individual operating systems:

Guide for Windows Users

1. Locate the desired BAK file within your directory.
2. Install renowned software like Notepad or TextPad for opening these files.
3. Right-click the BAK file, select “Open with,” and choose your preferred software. The contents of the BAK file will then be displayed.

Guide for Mac Users

1. Navigate or search for the BAK file within your Finder.
2. Aim to use software like TextEdit or File Viewer.
3. Right-click the BAK file, select “Open With,” and choose the relevant software.

Guide for Linux Users

1. Identify the BAK file’s location in your directory.
2. Install a suitable application like Gedit or Vim.
3. Use the command prompt to open the file using the chosen software.

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Troubleshooting Common Issues with Opening BAK Files

Despite following the guidelines, you might encounter hitches during the process, generally tied to software compatibility, corrupted BAK files, or specific BAK file formats. In these cases, seeking professional help is advised if the problem persists after initial troubleshooting.


Understanding BAK files, how to open them, and addressing issues that might arise in the process is vital. It minimizes panic during data recovery and aids safekeeping of crucial data. Dive deeper into this knowledge and equip yourself with the skills of handling BAK files efficiently.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is a BAK file?

A BAK file is a backup file created as a copy of the original data.

How is a BAK file created?

A BAK file is usually created as part of automatic backup procedures or manually by the user.

What software can open a BAK file?

Different software can be used depending on the platform. For Windows, you can utilize Notepad, TextPad, or Microsoft SQL Server. Mac users can leverage TextEdit, Apple Disk Utility, or File Viewer. Linux users can use Gedit, Vim, or GNU Emacs.

How to open a BAK file in Windows/Mac/Linux?

The process involves locating the BAK file in your system, choosing the appropriate software for reading the file, and opening the file via right-click or command prompt, as per the operating system.

Why can’t I open a BAK file?

This could be due to software compatibility, corruption of the BAK file, or issues with the specific BAK file format.

What to do if a BAK file is corrupted?

Employ data recovery tools designed to repair corrupted files, or consult a professional if the corruption persists.

Can a BAK file be converted to another format?

Yes, a BAK file can often be converted to its original format by renaming the file extension, but this depends on the type of information stored in the BAK file.

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