MANIFEST file icon

MANIFEST File Extension

Windows Application Manifest Format
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What is MANIFEST file?

MANIFEST file is an XML document used by Windows operating system which purpose is provide application update configuration and implementaion details. MANIFEST file holds metadata and other information in plain text that describes the installer package. Information contained in the file covers privileges, file extensions, sources and other data needed to define the package.

What are MANIFEST files used for?

Windows XP and Vista operating systems use MANIFEST files for their applications. MANIFEST file enables updating, for example, graphical interface of some older application installed on newer version of operating system. Such update changes only the graphical style of the interface to mathc that of the newer version – the application functionality and available features remain the same.

MANIFEST file applications

MANIFEST file filename is the same as that of the program associated with it except for added extension name. For example, a manifest file for notepad.exe would be named notepad.exe.manifest. MANIFEST file is located in the same folder as the program it is associated with.


MANIFEST files are commonly compiled into CDF-MS files to allow the underlying program to have faster access to application parameters.

Programs which support MANIFEST file extension

The list that follows enumerates programs compatible with MANIFEST files, divided into 3 categories based on operating system on which they are available. Files with MANIFEST suffix can be copied to any mobile device or system platform, but it may not be possible to open them properly on target system.

Programs that support MANIFEST file

Updated: 01/01/2020

How to open file with MANIFEST extension?

Problems with accessing MANIFEST may be due to various reasons. Fortunately, most common problems with MANIFEST files can be solved without in-depth IT knowledge, and most importantly, in a matter of minutes. We have prepared a listing of which will help you resolve your problems with MANIFEST files.

Step 1. Get the Microsoft Visual Studio

Install software to open MANIFEST file The most common reason for such problems is the lack of proper applications that supports MANIFEST files installed on the system. The most obvious solution is to download and install Microsoft Visual Studio or one to the listed programs: ClickOnce, Windows Notepad, NotePad++ text editor. Above you will find a complete listing of programs that support MANIFEST files, classified according to system platforms for which they are available. One of the most risk-free method of downloading software is using links provided by official distributors. Visit Microsoft Visual Studio website and download the installer.

Step 2. Verify the you have the latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio

Update software that support file extension MANIFESTIf the problems with opening MANIFEST files still occur even after installing Microsoft Visual Studio, it is possible that you have an outdated version of the software. Check the developer’s website whether a newer version of Microsoft Visual Studio is available. Software developers may implement support for more modern file formats in updated versions of their products. If you have an older version of Microsoft Visual Studio installed, it may not support MANIFEST format. The latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio should support all file formats that where compatible with older versions of the software.

Step 3. Set the default application to open MANIFEST files to Microsoft Visual Studio

If you have the latest version of Microsoft Visual Studio installed and the problem persists, select it as the default program to be used to manage MANIFEST on your device. The method is quite simple and varies little across operating systems.

Associate software with MANIFEST file on Windows

The procedure to change the default program in Windows

  • Choose the Open with entry from the file menu accessed by right-mouse clicking on the MANIFEST file
  • Select Choose another app → More apps
  • To finalize the process, select Look for another app on this PC entry and using the file explorer select the Microsoft Visual Studio installation folder. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open MANIFEST files box and clicking OK button.
Associate software with MANIFEST file on Mac

The procedure to change the default program in Mac OS

  • From the drop-down menu, accessed by clicking the file with MANIFEST extension, select Information
  • Open the Open with section by clicking its name
  • From the list choose the appropriate program and confirm by clicking Change for all....
  • Finally, a This change will be applied to all files with MANIFEST extension message should pop-up. Click Continue button in order to confirm your choice.

Step 4. Verify that the MANIFEST is not faulty

Should the problem still occur after following steps 1-3, check if the MANIFEST file is valid. Being unable to access the file can be related to various issues.

Check MANIFEST file for viruses
1. Check the MANIFEST file for viruses or malware

If the MANIFEST is indeed infected, it is possible that the malware is blocking it from opening. Immediately scan the file using an antivirus tool or scan the whole system to ensure the whole system is safe. MANIFEST file is infected with malware? Follow the steps suggested by your antivirus software.

2. Check whether the file is corrupted or damaged

If the MANIFEST file was sent to you by someone else, ask this person to resend the file to you. The file might have been copied erroneously and the data lost integrity, which precludes from accessing the file. When downloading the file with MANIFEST extension from the internet an error may occurred resulting in incomplete file. Try downloading the file again.

3. Check if the user that you are logged as has administrative privileges.

There is a possibility that the file in question can only be accessed by users with sufficient system privileges. Switch to an account that has required privileges and try opening the Windows Application Manifest Format file again.

4. Verify that your device fulfills the requirements to be able to open Microsoft Visual Studio

If the system is under havy load, it may not be able to handle the program that you use to open files with MANIFEST extension. In this case close the other applications.

5. Ensure that you have the latest drivers and system updates and patches installed

Regularly updated system, drivers, and programs keep your computer secure. This may also prevent problems with Windows Application Manifest Format files. Outdated drivers or software may have caused the inability to use a peripheral device needed to handle MANIFEST files.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the MANIFEST file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on MANIFEST file.

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