A .cpi file, in context of Microsoft Windows and DOS operating systems, is typically “Code Page Information File.” These files contain information about code pages used for text encoding and character set mappings. Code pages are essential for displaying and processing text in various languages and character sets.
In context of Windows and DOS, code pages are used to define how characters are represented and encoded in different languages and regions. These code pages determine how characters are stored in memory and displayed on screen. Each code page has unique identifier and .cpi files store information about these code pages, including details like character mappings and font information.
.cpi files are commonly found in Windows or DOS system directories and they play crucial role in enabling operating system to display text correctly for different locales and character sets. They help system understand how to interpret and render characters from different languages and encodings.
Code Page Information Files
Let us take closer look at Code Page Information Files (.cpi) and how they function within framework of MS-DOS and earlier iterations of Microsoft Windows:
Character Encoding and Code Pages: Code pages are critical component of how text is encoded and displayed on computer. They define character encoding for specific language or character set. Each code page assigns numerical values (code points) to characters, allowing computer to represent and display them. For example, code page 437 is commonly used in United States and Western Europe, while code page 850 is used for Latin-1 encoding.
System Initialization: During system initialization (when computer boots), MS-DOS and older versions of Windows would read .cpi files to determine which code pages to support. This information was crucial for text rendering, keyboard input and character set conversions.
Display and Keyboard Support: These files provide information about how characters should be displayed on screen and which character sets or code pages should be supported for keyboard input. Different code pages define different character sets, so these files help operating system know how to handle user input and display text correctly.
Localization: .cpi files are essential for localization of operating system. They enable system to adapt to different languages, regions and character sets, making it possible for users worldwide to use MS-DOS or Windows in their preferred languages.
Multiple .cpi Files: On computer with multilingual support, you might find several .cpi files corresponding to different code pages. For example, system might have 437.cpi for United States, 850.cpi for Latin-1, 852.cpi for Central Europe and so on. The appropriate file is loaded based on user’s locale or selected code page.
Font Information: In addition to character mappings, these files might contain font information, specifying which fonts to use for each code page. This is important for rendering text in appropriate style and size.
Legacy Systems: .cpi files were more common in older versions of MS-DOS and Windows. Modern Windows versions (such as Windows 10 and later) typically use Unicode for text encoding, which supports wide range of characters and languages. Unicode simplifies text processing for multilingual environments and is standard for modern software.
How to open CPI file?
Opening .CPI (Code Page Information) file is not typical user action and these files are generally not meant to be opened manually. They are used by operating system to manage text encoding and character sets and their contents are accessed and utilized automatically by system.
However, if you are interested in viewing contents of .CPI file for informational purposes, you can try opening it with text editor or hexadecimal viewer. Here is how you can attempt to open .CPI file:
Text Editor: You can use text editor like Notepad (on Windows) or any plain text editor on other operating systems to open and view .CPI file. Keep in mind that contents of .CPI files are not meant to be human-readable and you may see series of characters that are difficult to interpret.
Hexadecimal Viewer: A hexadecimal viewer or hex editor can be used to open and inspect contents of .CPI file in its raw binary form. Hex editors provide more detailed view of file’s data, which can be useful if you’re trying to understand its structure. Examples of such software include HxD, Hex Fiend (for macOS) and 010 Editor.
Other CPI files
Here are other file types that use the .cpi file extension.