What is an ESD File?

How to Open, Edit, & Convert ESD Files

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© Microsoft

A file with the ESD file extension is a file downloaded using Microsoft's Electronic Software Download application, so the file itself is called a Windows Electronic Software Download file. You might see this type of ESD file when upgrading the Windows operating system.

Other ESD files may instead be completely unrelated and stand for an ExpertScan Survey Document file. This type of ESD file is used with the Expert Scan software to store surveys, forms, and/or reports.

How To Open an ESD File

ESD files that are from Microsoft, and used when installing software upgrades, are not to be opened manually (unless you're converting them like described below). Instead, Windows uses them internally during the update process.

They're often stored along with WIM (Windows Imaging Format) files in the user's \AppData\Local\Microsoft\ folder, under the \WebSetup\Download\ subfolder.

ExpertScan Survey document files that have the .ESD file extension can be opened with Expert Scan, a program by AutoData.

Note: Other software may use ESD files too, but neither for software upgrades nor document files. If none of the ideas above work to open the ESD file you have, it's likely that it's in neither format.

At this point, it's probably smart to try your ESD file in Notepad++ or another text editor. If the file is full of legible text, then your ESD file happens to be a text file, in which case the text editor can, of course, be used to open and read it.

However, if only some of the text is readable, you can try to use what information you can read to research what program was used to build that ESD file; it's likely that the same program that built it is also able to open it.

If you find that an application on your PC does try to open the ESD file but it's the wrong application or if you would rather have another installed program open ESD files, see my How To Change the Default Program for a Specific File Extension guide for making that change in Windows.

How To Convert an ESD File

Wim Converter is a free tool that converts Microsoft ESD files to WIM or SWM (a split WIM file). The free NTLite program can save an ESD file to WIM as well.

The free ESD Decrypter tool can be used to convert an ESD to ISO, but since the download is in the 7Z archive format, you'll need a free file extractor like 7-Zip to open it.

Note: ESD Decrypter is a command-line program, so it definitely isn't as straightforward to use as a program that has a graphical user interface. However, there is a very helpful ReadMe.txt file that comes with the download which will help you understand how to convert the ESD file.

ExpertScan Survey Document files can be exported to PDF using the Expert Scan software mentioned above.

More Help With ESD Files

See Get More Help for information about contacting me on social networks or via email, posting on tech support forums, and more. Let me know what kinds of problems you're having with opening or using the ESD file, and which format you think the ESD file probably is, and then I'll see what I can do to help.