XPI refers to the Extension Archive files. They are primarily associated with the web browsers like Mozilla Firefox. These files are the compressed installation archives which are used by browsers like Firefox, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey. The contents of these files may vary from primary software component programs to the software extensions like the web plug-ins. There is a very simple way of opening such files. They can be simply dragged and dropped into the window of a web browser. The browser will itself open the file.
Similarities of these files with .zip files
The files with the XPI are actually very much similar to the zip files. They are also compressed files which is responsible for their small sizes. Thus, when they are opened, they first need to be decompressed and only then they can be accessed. When these files are opened in a web browser, they use some add-ons. The most common ones used by them are Alexa and PR add-on indicators. They also make use of some of the other types of plug-ins which are essential to the working of the Mozilla applications.
So, how do these files work?
These files install a browser extension when they are opened in a web browser. To gain access to and to install the local version of such files, opening them in any web browser like Firefox is the best way to go. In general cases, a file like this will automatically get installed into the system through the web browser and will be available for general use after the browser is restarted once.
So, how is this file format different from the other .zip files?
In technical terms, the XPI is nothing but the renamed versions of the ZIP files and this is the reason why any program meant for the compression or archive purpose will open the XPI file for decompression, once the XPI file is renamed from XPI to ZIP. The . xpi files are meant to provide extendibility to the browser. Thus, these files can be easily accessed through 2 different ways. Firstly, by opening them in an appropriate web browser where they get automatically installed and secondly, by renaming their extension to ZIP and then decompressing them with any archive program.
Open XPI File on Windows OS
- Look for an XPI file you need to open in Windows Explorer and double-click on it
- If the file doesn’t open automatically and you see a “Windows can’t open a file” message then you should search for a program which can open XPI file
- If you have a program which can open XPI file installed on your computer then launch that program and select “File” and then “Open” or similar options from its menu to open the XPI file
- If you don’t have the program installed then you need to try searching for “XPI wiki”, “how to open XPI file” in the search engine.
- Once you find the application, install it on your computer
- After the program is installed double-click on the XPI file to open it
File extensions are used by Windows operating system to specify what kind of information is stored in the file. Every file in Windows OS needs to have file extension and file extensions are used by Windows to determine which application it should use to open the file. Every application installed on Windows OS places information about which extensions it could open into the Windows registry and Windows uses this information to determine which application it should launch when user double-clicks on the file. If application which can open XPI file is not installed, then Windows will show ‘Windows can’t open XPI file’ message and buttons to either select an application on the computer which can open the file or to search the web for the application which can open XPI file.