What Is a DIRECTORY File?

DIRECTORY files store properties for Linux folders

What to Know

  • A DIRECTORY file is a KDE folder parameters file.
  • Linux systems use this file with KDE (K Desktop Environment).

This article explains what a DIRECTORY file is and how to open one on your computer.

What Is a DIRECTORY File?

A file with the DIRECTORY file extension is a KDE folder parameters file, or sometimes called a KDE folder view properties file.

Every folder in a Linux-based operating systems that uses this kind of file will have its own .DIRECTORY file that specifies options for that particular folder, including the name, icon, and other details. They're hidden by default.

A folder (like one that holds your music collection, images, etc.) is also referred to as a "directory," but it's not the same as this file format. You might also think of an archive, like a ZIP file, as a directory file.

How to Open a DIRECTORY File

The operating system using this file type will use it as is—you don't need to install any third-party programs to open it. In Linux, what opens it is called KDE, which stands for K Desktop Environment.

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 Patrick George / Getty Images

However, you should be able to use a free text editor to open a .DIRECTORY file to display (and possibly edit) its contents.

Are you trying to open a folder in a terminal or Command Prompt, and not a .DIRECTORY file? In a terminal, use the open command as seen in this Stackoverflow example. See iSunshare's tutorial if you need help using the start command to open a directory in Command Prompt.

How to Convert a DIRECTORY File

There shouldn't be any reason to convert a .DIRECTORY file to another format because it would just make the file unusable, and the folder that was referring to the file would have to make a new one to store its settings.

If you're wanting to convert a directory (folder) full of files, and not a .DIRECTORY file, there are a variety of free file converters. You can use them to convert images, audio files, videos, and more.

Something a little different that you might be after is converting a directory listing to a text file so that you can have a list of all the files that are in that folder. This can be done in Windows with the dir command.

Lots of programs can convert a directory of files to the ISO format: WinCDEmu, MagicISO, and IsoCreator are just a few examples. Similar are file compression utilities like 7-Zip and PeaZip that can convert folders to ZIP, RAR, 7Z, and other similar formats.

Still Can't Open It?

If your file doesn't open with the suggestions from above, double-check the file extension to make sure it actually reads as ".DIRECTORY" and not something similar like ".DIR." Files with the .DIR suffix are movies that open with the now discontinued Adobe Director software, and are not at all related to DIRECTORY files.

Another example is Rich Text Format Directory files that use the RTFD file extension. These are text files used on macOS that might contain images, fonts, and other files like PDFs, but they, too, aren't related to DIRECTORY files, and instead open with Apple's TextEdit program, Bean, or theLibrarian.

  • How do I copy a file from one directory to another in Linux?

    In a desktop environment, right-click and drag a file and select the copy option from the context menu. Another option is to use the cp command to copy files in Linux. Use this syntax: cp source file destination.

  • How do I create a file directory in Linux?

    Use the command line and mkdir to create new directories in Linux. Open the terminal window > navigate to the folder where you want to place a new directory > and type mkdir directory name.

  • How do I move a file from one directory to another in Unix?

    Use the mv command to move files. Open the terminal window > bring up the file you want to move > and then type mv source file destination.

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