How to Determine the Source of a File in Windows XP

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This article was previously published under Q323714
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
For a Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition version of this article, see 304590.
This article lists general guidelines about how to determine the source of a file.
When you receive an error message, the error message may mention a file. However, you may not know with which program the file is associated. The methods in this article may help you to identify the source of a file and the product with which it may be included.

How to Troubleshoot File Error Messages

To determine the source of a file error message, first try to identify the name of the file or files from the error message, and then use one of the following methods.

View the Properties for the File

To view the properties of a specific file, right-click the file, and then click Properties. Click the Version tab.

In the Other Version Information box, the source company may be listed with the program or product with which the file is included. If the source company is a company other than Microsoft, use the links at the end of this article to obtain support from the manufacturer.

Query the Microsoft Knowledge Base for the File Name

To query the Microsoft Knowledge Base, click the following link:Search for the terms "directory listing" for your product. When you do this, you receive a list of directory listing articles for the Microsoft products that install that file. If this method does not locate the information that you want, search again by using only the file name.

This method may also help you to identify a file that is included with a third-party program, and any known or reported issues.

Error Message Because the File Is Missing or Damaged

If a missing or damaged file is causing an error message, use "clean-boot" troubleshooting to determine from where the file is loaded. For additional information, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
310353 How to Perform a Clean Boot in Windows XP

Other Information Sources

  • Newsgroups:

    Newsgroups are a good source of information to help you resolve file error messages. Newsgroups are a bulletin board-type message forum where other users can offer tips and information to help you in resolving error messages. To access Microsoft Product Support Newsgroups, view the following Microsoft Web site, and then click the link for Support Newsgroups:
  • Product Support Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

    FAQs are available by product. FAQs list frequently asked product support questions and provide links to troubleshooting information.

    To view the FAQ for your specific product, visit the following Microsoft Web site, and then click your product.

Third-Party Contact Information

If the file is from a third-party manufacturer, contact that manufacturer for more information and support.

For information about how to contact the manufacturer, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

Article ID: 323714 - Last Review: 01/12/2015 20:30:24 - Revision: 3.1

  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
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