What Is an ASHX File?

How to Open, Edit, and Convert ASHX Files

ASHX Files
ASHX Files.

A file with the ASHX file extension is an ASP.NET Web Handler file that often holds references to other web pages used in an ASP.NET Web server application.

The functions in the ASHX file are written in the C# programming language, and sometimes the references are so short that an ASHX file may end up just being a single line of code.

Most people only encounter ASHX files by accident when they try to download a file from a website, like a PDF file.

This is because the ASHX file references that PDF file to send it to the browser for download but doesn't name it correctly, attaching .ASHX at the end instead of .PDF.

How to Open an ASHX File

ASHX files are files used with ASP.NET programming and can be opened with any program that codes in ASP.NET, like Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft Visual Community.

Since they're text files, you can also open ASHX files with Notepad++ or any other text editor, like TextMate for macOS or the built in Notepad program in Windows.

ASHX files are not intended to be viewed or opened by a web browser. If you've downloaded an ASHX file and expected it to contain information (like a document or other saved data), it's likely that something is wrong with the website and instead of generating usable information, it provided this server-side file instead.

Note: You technically can view the text of an ASHX file using some web browsers but that doesn't mean that the file is supposed to be opened in that way.

In other words, a true ASHX file, which contains readable text for ASP.NET applications, can be viewed in your browser but not all .ASHX files are actually ASP.NET Web Handler files. There's more on this below.

The best trick with an ASHX file is to simply rename it to the kind of file you expected it to be.

It seems many are really supposed to be PDF files so, for example, if you download an ASHX file from your electric company or bank, just rename it as statement.pdf and open it. Apply the same logic for a music file, image file, etc.

When these issues occur, the website you're visiting that's running the ASHX file is having some kind of issue and this last step, where the ASHX file is supposed to be renamed to whatever.whatever isn't happening. So renaming the file is just you doing the last step yourself.

If this is happening a lot when you download PDF files specifically, there might be a problem with the PDF plug-in that your browser is using. You should be able to fix this by switching the browser to use the Adobe PDF plug-in instead.

Note: It's important to understand that you can not just rename any file to have a different extension and expect it to work properly. For example, you can't rename a .PDF file to a .DOCX file and assume it will open just fine in a word processor. A conversion tool is necessary for true file conversions.

How to Convert an ASHX File

You don't need to actually convert an ASHX file to any other format unless it's one of the file formats listed in the "Save As" dialog box in Microsoft Visual Studio or one of the other programs mentioned above.

The formats listed there are other text-based formats since that's what a true ASHX file is - a text file.

Since these types of files are just text files, you can not convert ASHX to JPG, MP3, or any other format like that. However, if you do think that the ASHX file should be an MP3 or some other file type, read what I said above about renaming the file. For example, instead of converting the ASHX file to PDF, you may just need to rename the file extension.

Still Can't Open Your File?

The first thing you should do if you can't open an ASHX file is double-check that you're actually using an ASHX file.

What I mean by this is that some files have file extensions that look like .ASHX when they're really just spelled similarly.

For example, an ASHX file is not the same as an ASH file, which might be a Nintendo Wii System Menu file, Audiosurf Audio Metadata file, or KoLmafia ASH Script file. If you have an ASH file, you need to research that file extension to see which programs are able to open a file in one of those other formats.

The same is true if you have an ASX, ASHBAK, or AHX file. Respectively, these are either Microsoft ASF Redirector files or Alpha Five Library Temporary Index files; Ashampoo Backup Archive files; or WinAHX Tracker Module files.

As you can tell, it's extremely important to recognize the actual file extension because that's one of the best ways to immediately identify the file format, and ultimately the application, that the file works with.