HQX files are associated with Macintosh operating systems and help to maintain Internet download stability and other types of file transmission processes. Files that contain the HQX extension are compressed files which are binary files encoded into a text format. The files are in the BinHex archive format, which is associated with the Mac OS 9 operating system and earlier.
BinHex stands for Binary-to-Hexadecimal and was originally created to convert binary files to an ASCII text file format. The primary purpose of the BinHex format was to prevent corruption of files during transmission from one system to another. The format was a popular way to transfer binary files as an email attachment.
BinHex HQX files are popular with Mac since it combines data and resource forks for a single file to protect them during the transmission process. The files are displayed with an HQX extension, and the signature is displayed as TEXTBNHQ. In the current day, you will typically see an HQX file with most Macintosh email software clients which are capable of automatically coding and decoding HQX files.
If a Macintosh user sends an HQX file to a PC user, some of the email clients are incapable of identifying the BinHex standard and simply store the file on the hard disk. HQX files can also be used to create Mac files on other platforms similar to what Macromedia Flash does when it creates an animation for Macintosh.
How to Open HQX Files
If you are a PC user and you have been sent an HQX file, there are a variety of decoding tools such as Online BinHex Encoder/Decoder Tool that will decode the file for you. There are some drawbacks of this method since a decoding tool can cause a Mac filename to be lost. It is also possible that the file signature may not be recognized and the contents of the file fork can get lost.
Since HQX files are compressed, your best bet is to use a compression utility program such as WinZip, ALZip, Stuffit Deluxe, or ZipZag, all of which are compatible with the Windows operating system. Corel WinZip 16 Pro will also open HQX files in Windows.
If you use Mac OS, you can open HQX files using your Mac email client or by using the Apple Archive Utility. Other programs that will open HQX files on a Mac PC include Stuffit Deluxe and Dare to be a Creative Archiver.
There is also a variety of HQX conversion programs that will convert HQX files for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can also decompress the files using a compression utility program and then compress the files into another archive format.