EXE File Extension

Have a problem opening a .EXE file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what EXE files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .EXE file type?

The .exe extension universally associates with executable files in DOS, Microsoft Windows, OS/2, Symbian and some other operating systems (OS). Executables are binary files that can be directly executed by the OS.

An .exe, or runtime file is compiled from a source code in one of the many programming languages. The binary code contained in an .exe file is loaded into memory and directly passed to the CPU for execution. Besides the program code itself, an .exe file often contains icons and other resources.

There are several different versions of the EXE format. Microsoft Windows uses both 32-bit (PE32) or 64-bit (PE32+) Portable Executable formats. Normally, an .exe file is compressed with one of the many available runtime compression methods. All Windows executables must have the .exe extension, otherwise they cannot be run.

The vast majority of software titles for Windows are distributed as .exe files. DOS/Windows .exe files cannot be directly run in MacOS or Linux, but a limited runtime compatibility can be achieved through virtual-machine solutions.

Software to open or convert EXE files

You can open EXE files with the following programs: 

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