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ContainerX File Type Errors for JPEG Graphics

written by: Lamar Stonecypher•edited by: Bill Fulks•updated: 9/21/2009

Sometimes an error can occur when copying graphics files from one location to another on a Windows PC that produces files with a "containerX" file extension. What should one do to make the files viewable again?

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    What is ContainerX?

    First of all, "containerX" may commonly be programmer shorthand for the dimensions of an array. For example, "containerX" could be the horizontal component while "containerY" could be the vertical.

    The problem of interest here is what to do when copying a graphics file, for example zoomonkey.jpg, from one location on the PC to another, and having it become an un-openable file called zoomonkey.containerx.

    This suggests that the file structure has become damaged and Windows doesn't know what to do with the file. In general, file types can be identified by looking at features in the file structure such as the header and footer. Windows also maintains a list of common file types based on known file extensions. For example, a .jpg file is known to be a JPEG image file. The header of a JPEG file contains "JFIF," which acts as a signature for the file type. Several applications on the PC may recognize both the file structure and the file extension.

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    Troubleshooting in Windows

    But if for some reason, Windows fails to recognize the file by file extension or file structure, Windows may guess what the file is. If it finds a file named action.aqti, Windows Explorer will declare it an AQTI file! If it there's no file extension to latch onto, Windows may look inside the file or peer at other file attributes to determine what the file most likely is.

    Who knows where it finds "containerX?" It may be from a system library that the program that created the file "linked against" when it was compiled (or created). It may be in some DLL ("data-link library") file on the PC or .NET (Microsoft dot-net) package, or even a built-in system call that Windows somehow related enough to think, "Aha! That is a . . . containerX file."

    But the specifics, in this case, are not important. What is important is that the file has become too damaged to read or open.

    Thus, the first thing to do is to try to open the original copy of the file in the original location. If it opens correctly, delete the containerX file and try the copy operation again. Often, copy problems that happen during batch copying, such as transferring from a camera to the PC or copying many files in one operation from one hard drive to another, do not occur when copying the files individually.

    If you get the same result again, start your troubleshooting using an intermediary, if possible. Try copying the file to a USB flash drive first, and then to the PC. Do you get the same result?

    If so, try opening the file from the flash drive, and try opening it on another PC, too.

    And if the other PC has no problem, but the problem continues when you try to copy JPEG graphics on your PC, I would suspect that something has gone awry in Windows - some problem in the Registry really is convincing Windows that your JPEG files are "ContainerX" files, or some loose file extension identification exists on the PC, or possibly even another application is at fault.

    But I'm guessing that trying the copy operation again will be the solution.