While cleaning out some old computers owned by my grandfather I came across some files marked with the file format .95END that had creation dates in early 1995 (though they could be from much earlier, and that was just when they were archived).

They look to be some kind of binary document with text embedded in them I think they are some kind of word processing file format but I can find no reference to it on the internet.

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    It might be quite helpful if you could add what kind of computer (Brand/Type) has been used, as well which OS. Type of media may be a good idea as well. Similar the whole name and if there are other files in that series - it might as well be a custom ending. – Raffzahn Apr 10 '19 at 18:34
  • This is not standard extension, only file’s raw content can tell what exactly it is - if you don’t keep secrets that long you can publish whole file or at least header – Stanislav Orlov Apr 10 '19 at 18:46
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    Welcome to Retrocomputing! Assuming a Windows 95 disk: in the DOS days lots of people made up their own file extensions; there were no software-picked extensions of more than 3 characters in 1995, and they weren’t even possible before Windows 95. The file date is probably bogus unless your grandfather was a developer with access to a Windows 95 Beta or (more likely) he changed the extension later on. Chances are, the file extension only meant something to your grandfather. You will need to post details about the file’s content to be able to identify the actual file type. – Euro Micelli Apr 10 '19 at 19:42
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    What do you mean by 'marked with the file format'? What OS or filesystem did these files come from? – rakslice Apr 10 '19 at 22:13
  • @EuroMicelli, if they date from early 1995, it can't be a Windows system. The release of Win95 was delayed for so long that there were jokes about "Windows 96". – Mark Apr 11 '19 at 2:34

How far through 1995 are the files dated? It almost sounds like they may be some kind of finance summary or something - 95END might be referring to an end of financial year. Depending on what kind of computer they came from, I'd first try to take a copy and open them in Word/Excel by adding a .doc or a .xls to the end of the file name or something similar, as you most likely have those to hand. It's possible they come from older software - Lotus or Wordperfect or something similar, but those are harder to dig up.

As mentioned by Euro Micelli in the comments it's likely that the file extension doesn't actually have much to do with the contents of the file, which makes it a little trickier.

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  • That's the first thing I thought too. – Maury Markowitz Apr 15 '19 at 20:57

The first thing to do without resorting to exposing file contents to the public is bringing the files into a kind of a Unix-like system (Linux or MacOS X), then applying the file utility.

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  • If you don't mind me asking, does the file command change and/or modify the "last accessed" date (or other properties) of the specified file? – LogicalBranch Apr 12 '19 at 10:02
  • The file command has to read (i.e., "access") the file. It's the file system that updates the last-access date when the file is accessed, so... yes. But on the other hand, you're presumably copying this file into the Unix system, so it's only a copy that's getting its metadata modified. The metadata are in the file system, not the file. – another-dave Apr 12 '19 at 11:56
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    If you're really concerned about not changing anything, your approach should be to make a complete copy of the disk the files are on. – another-dave Apr 12 '19 at 11:58
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    ...or mount the source filesystem read-only. – Blrfl Apr 12 '19 at 12:52
  • @LogicalBranch It does, but mounting the file system read only, or making a copy of the filesystem and mounting the copy is always an option, as mentioned in the previous comments. – Leo B. Apr 12 '19 at 16:21

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