How to Open .NFO Files in Windows 11

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

Ever bumped into a .NFO file in Windows 11 and got a bit lost on what to do with it? These files pack details about other files, usually coming with software downloads. If it’s your first time seeing an NFO file, or if opening one gave you a weird error or a bunch of gibberish, you might be wondering how to go about it.

This guide will help you understand what NFO files are and show you step-by-step how to open and read them on a Windows 11 computer.

How to Open .NFO Files in Windows 11

What is an NFO file?

An NFO file is like a text file that shares important info and instructions about software or media downloads. But it’s not your typical text file. NFO files often have fancy ASCII art to make logos or designs. They work like a “readme” file, giving you the lowdown like the title, release date, author, and what you need to do.

What is an NFO file

NFO files started in the warez scene to include credits, instructions, copyright info, and more. While they’re linked with pirated software, legit developers use them too, to talk about their stuff. They’re found with games sometimes, explaining game details or info about game saves.

The ASCII art in NFO files looks best with a monospaced font, so everything lines up right. If you’ve opened an NFO file and it looked like a mess, it’s probably because of the wrong font or program messing up the art.

Opening .NFO files with Windows 11 Notepad

Notepad, the simple text editor in Windows, can open .NFO files. Here’s how:

  1. Find the .NFO file you want to open.
  2. Right-click on the file.
  3. Select “Open with” and then pick “Notepad” from the list of apps.Opening NFO files with Windows 11 Notepad

Also see: How to Restore Old Legacy Notepad in Windows 11

If Notepad isn’t listed, click on “Choose another app,” scroll, and select Notepad from there.

App to open .nfo files in Windows 11

But, if the .NFO file has ASCII art, Notepad might not show it right because it struggles with the special characters. And if your Windows is set up a certain way, Notepad might try to open it as a System Information file, which messes up the format even more.

Notepad not displaying NFO file text correctly

If the art looks off, switch to a monospaced font like Consolas or Lucida Console:

  1. Open Notepad and click “Format” in the menu.
  2. Hit “Font…”
  3. Pick “Consolas” or “Lucida Console” from the font list.
  4. Set the font style to “Regular” and pick a size that works for you.Fix Notepad can't display NFO file properly
  5. Click “OK” to save the changes.

How to view NFO files in Windows 11

Changing the font just changes how you see the text; it doesn’t change the .NFO file itself.

Pro tip: How to Add Notepad to Desktop in Windows 11

For seeing ASCII art the way it’s meant to be, or if Notepad’s not cutting it, try Notepad++.

Viewing .NFO files using Notepad++

Notepad++ is a free, advanced text editor that handles ASCII art well. Here’s how to use it for .NFO files:

  1. Download and install Notepad++ if you haven’t already.
  2. Right-click the .NFO file and pick “Open with” then “Notepad++” from the apps list.Open NFO files with Notepad++
    • If Notepad++ isn’t there, click “Choose another app,” then “More apps,” and if needed, “Look for another app on this PC,” and find the Notepad++ file (usually in C:\Program Files\Notepad++).

To get the best view, make sure you’re using a monospaced font like “Courier New” or “Consolas”. You can adjust this in Notepad++:

  1. Go to “Settings” then “Style Configurator.”
  2. Pick a monospaced font.Changing font style in Notepad++
  3. Save your settings and reopen the NFO file if needed.

Notepad++ can handle big NFO files better than Notepad, making it a solid choice for these files.

View NFO files in Windows 11

But if you find an NFO file that’s really an XML file with system info, you’ll need a specific tool to view it right.

Related resource: How to Search for Text in Files on Windows 11

Changing the default app to view .NFO files

Sometimes, .NFO files try to open with “System Information” by default, which doesn’t work well for files with ASCII art. Here’s how to change the default program for .NFO files to something better in Windows 11:

  1. Right-click any .NFO file and pick “Properties.”
  2. In the Properties window, look for “Opens with.”
  3. Click “Change…” next to the current app.Change Open With for NFO System Information
  4. Windows will show a bunch of app suggestions. If yours isn’t there, click “More apps” or “Look for another app on this PC” to find it.
  5. Change default app for NFO files in Windows 11
  6. Pick your app, click “Open,” then in Properties, hit “Apply” and “OK.”

Learn more: How to Change Default App For File Extension in Windows 11

This lets you make sure double-clicking an .NFO file opens it in a program that shows it right. It’s a handy way to set your preferred app for all .NFO files.

Using System Information Viewer

If your .NFO file is actually XML with system info, you’ll need the System Information Tool. Here’s how:

  1. Hit “Windows + R” to open Run.
  2. Type msinfo32 and hit Enter. This opens the System Information Tool.
  3. In the tool, click “File” then “Open.”
  4. Find your .NFO file, select it, and click “Open.”

Windows 11 NFO Files System Information Viewer

This way, you can view the file’s details properly, like looking through a file folder.

Knowing your NFO file type is key. If it’s with software or media, it’s likely the ASCII text type. If it’s from your system’s info tool, then you need the XML viewer method above.

The bottom line

Getting to grips with .NFO files is pretty important if you handle lots of software and media on Windows 11. Text-based NFOs are easy with Notepad, but for ASCII art, Notepad++ does a better job. For system info NFO files, the System Information Tool is your go-to. Whether you need to see ASCII art properly or deal with different NFO file types, picking the right tool for the job makes all the difference.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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