Files with an extension of “.bin” can contain many data types. But usually, they are compressed files that contain binary data. Disc images, which store the contents of a disc, are often shared in the form of .bin files.
However, you cannot use such files unless you are sure about the data they contain and have the appropriate program or app installed. While some .bin files can contain uncompressed data, not every such File will necessarily be meant for reading/watching. Therefore most .bin files cannot be read using a simple text editor like Notepad.
The usage of such files has been decreased over the last few years. This is mainly due to the decreasing use of optical storage media such as CDs, DVDs, etc. The bin file format has been used a lot for DVD backup image files.
These files serve as the input for many programs. The exact structure of a “.bin” file depends on underlying data. For example, if the File is meant to create a disc image, you will need to copy the disc contents, stored in a format appropriate for the target program. It is not necessary to use an ISO file for this. You can use a cue file as well.
Some backup programs also use this format. Sometimes the data is compressed, which makes the structure hard to understand. Even if the data is not compressed, the underlying content might be in different formats, such as images, music, etc.
Here are some most common uses of .bin files:
- You will most likely encounter such files when dealing with historical data. If you have joined a new company, a previous employee might have stored data in the bin format.
- Anti-virus software needs to be kept updated with the latest definition files. These are sometimes distributed in the bin format. Some people prefer letting the updates happen automatically. However, if you want to do it manually, you might regularly encounter “.bin” files.
- You might even come across the bin file extension if you are working in the IT helpdesk of a company and users need help with opening such files.
Here are various methods to open .bin files:
Step 1) Create a CUE File:
This method is used when you need to work with a disc image, and the program requires a “.cue” file as a supplement to the “.bin” file. The cue file and the bin file must be present in the same folder.
Step 2) Burning a File to Disc:
You use this method when you need to write the contents of the “.bin” file to a CD/DVD. This method is not very popular now because of decreasing use of optical storage media.
Step 3) Mounting the File to a Virtual Drive:
You are most likely to use this method when you want to access the disk image but do not want to write it to a physical CD/DVD. You can also use this method on systems that do not have an optical drive at all.
Transform the .bin File to ISO Format:
Sometimes the disc burning program that you have might only work with specific types of files, and “.bin” might not be one of them. Yet, you can use conversion software to convert the “.bin” file to the widely accepted ISO format. Most disc images are shared as an ISO file.
You can use Alcohol 120%, a disc imaging software meant to run on Windows systems. It can be used to emulate a virtual optical drive as well.
Here is a step-by-step process for opening .bin files in Windows:
Step 1) Go to http://www.filefacts.com/alcohol-120-info. And click on the “Download” button.
Note: You can use the trial version for 15 days.
Step 2) Run the downloaded installer program to install the software on your computer. Because the software also installs certain virtual device drivers, it might ask you to restart the PC, after which the remaining installation will continue.
Step 3) Start the program. From the main window, select “Image Burning Wizard.”
Step 4) after the wizard begins, select the “.bin” file that you want to open and continue to follow on-screen instructions.
Step 5) after clicking on “Next,” wait for the writing process to complete. Depending on the greatest speed supported by your optical drive, the actual disc that is in the drive, as well as the size of the “.bin” file, this can take a while.
Step 6) Click “OK” when it notifies you about the completion of the writing process.
That’s it! Now your disc has the contents of the “.bin” file!
You can use Roxio Toast, disc management, and burning programs for macOS. It is available in two versions, Titanium and Pro, with the latter being costlier.
Here is a step-by-step process for opening .bin files in macOS:
Step 1) Go to https://www.roxio.com/en/products/toast/.
Click on the “BUY NOW” button for the version you want to use. Follow the instructions to buy the program and install the program on your iOS device.
Step 2) here, we have selected the first plan.
Step 3) then start the program and click on “Burn,” and then choose an appropriate project type. Drag your “.bin” file into the window.
Step 4) Configure output settings. This includes giving the project a name, specifying what you will use it for, and selecting the target drive. You can also specify any other settings like the number of copies.
Step 5) Start burning the image and wait for the process to complete.
You now have the contents of your “.bin” file accessible on your optical disc! As an alternative to Roxio Toast, you can also try AnyToISO. It has a “lite” version that is free.
In iOS, you can use the “Archives” app, which is capable of opening many kinds of compressed files, including the bin format. It is a very lightweight and free app and runs on many old versions of iOS as well.
Here is a step-by-step process for opening .bin files in iOS:
Step 1) Go to https://theunarchiver.com/archives.
Download and install the app using the App Store link.
Step 2) Open the app. Depending on where you found the “.bin” File (such as from mail or transferred from your computer or obtained from Safari, etc.), select the appropriate option and follow the instructions provided.
In Android, you can use the MD.emu app, which is used to play emulated games that have been popular on retro consoles. Although the MD in the name refers to MegaDrive, it can be used to emulate other systems as well.
Here is a step-by-step process for opening .bin files in Android:
Click on the “Buy” button to buy the app. Depending on your currency settings, you will see the price in the Play Store.
Step 2) once the app is installed, open the app. The app is mainly designed to emulate old game consoles, so most likely, you will be using this app to play old games, whose files are often distributed in the “.bin” format.
Step 3) Choose “Open Content” and select the “.bin” file which you wish to open. Depending on how fast your Android device is, the emulation might feel a bit slow.
Now you can enjoy your game on Android!
Note that sometimes apk files get downloaded as bin files on Android systems. The solution is to rename the bin file as an apk file.
Here are various types of data that a bin file can store:
- Binary data
- Sega game ROM
- Binary executable File
- Unix/Linux executable file. These are also popular for running scripts.
- Disc image. You will need a cue file as well.
- Macbinary encoded File
- Emulator BIOS image
- BlackBerry IT policy file
- Emulator binary file
- Router firmware
- Video. Although not very popular, the bin file format can contain video too. These are huge files because they usually contain raw, uncompressed video streams.
- Atari game ROM
- Nintendo Wii game data. In this case, some data is present in plain text, whereas the rest is encrypted.
- GOG.com game data
❓ Can “.bin” files be dangerous?
Since some files having the bin extension can contain executable code, they can put your system at risk if the source of the File is not trustworthy. It is always better to have anti-malware software activated and updated on your system when you open a bin file.
🚀 Can “.bin” files be hidden?
Depending on your file manager settings, you might not see such files listed in directory contents. On Windows, it is possible to hide “.bin” files by setting the “Hidden” attribute of the File.
⚡ What are the tools to open a .bin file?
The choice of tool that you use to open such files depends on what is the expected data contained. Usually, disk imaging/burning software is associated with “.bin” files. Game ROM files needed by old console emulators are also popular in the bin format.
🏅 How to send “.bin” files via email securely?
Most email clients, as well as service providers, allow the use of the bin file extension as email attachments. Since the data present in such files are of a varied nature and can even be present in a compressed state, such files are not usually blocked.
👉 How to detect a “.bin” file received in another format?
You can use the “file” utility found in macOS and Unix/Linux systems to detect the type of data that a file contains. It is possible to download and use this utility on Windows systems also.
❗ What to do if malware/virus software prevents you from opening a “.bin” file?
Sometimes, anti-malware software detects false positives and unnecessarily quarantines “.bin” files, blocking your access. Yet, you can usually open these files safely using a Linux live distribution, especially if you want to access the File in a read-only state.