How to Open Files with the .pif File Extension

What is the .pif file extension?

The .pif file extension is an acronym for Program Information File and is a format associated with MS-DOS and the Windows operating system.

What is the .pif file extension used for?

MS-DOS was an x86 based operating system which was designed by Microsoft for personal computers. IBM and Apple had good and powerful operating systems, but were confined to their own hardware. MS-DOS was a revolutionary operating system because it was able to run on every personal computer irrespective of their hardware. This made MS-DOS very popular and applications were designed for this OS.

MS-DOS was a command line interface (CLI) programming language which had a series of files with the .exe file extension. Once the system was started the computer used to load the OS and a command prompt appeared on the screen. Programs could be run on system from the command prompt using the .exe programs and DOS syntax. The .pif file extension format is a program information file which is used by MS-DOS to run a list of programs, functions and can contain pieces of source code. The .pif format used to define a complete multitasking environment for a specific program.  Such .pif files contained :

  • the specific .exe program
  • the path where it will be found
  • the memory it will use
  • Type of screen to be used like full screen or size in pixels

The .pif file extension format was originally used as a link file or a shortcut to the original file. The shortcut used to contain all the settings which were saved for the executable file in the .pif file format. The .pif file was never considered an exe file and was not provided many resources. They were always run using the ShellExecute function of Windows which used to execute them according to the content they encapsulated.

Because the .pif file extension format can handle pieces of code and exe files in one file; several viruses started to pack themselves into these files. These viruses were then distributed as email attachments.   So, it is always better to scan attachments carrying these files.  .pif files are rarely used nowadays due to the lack of MS-DOS applications.

What are the different kinds of software used to open .pif file extensions?

The .pif file extension format can be opened using either MS-DOS or can be run in the Windows environment.

FileCure SoftwareFileCure is a powerful application which can open files with the .pif file extension. This software can not only open any kind of file format, but can also fix file association errors.