EXE

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File Format
Name EXE
Ontology
Extension(s) .exe

The EXE executable format has its root in MS-DOS and is still widely used today. The first versions were pure 16 bit DOS executables, identified by either "MZ" or "ZM" as the first two bytes. Later on, lots of additional formats were added, like Windows' NE (New Executable) extension, OS/2's LE and LX (Linear Executable), and later Win32's PE executable (a variant of COFF), as well as some DOS extenders adding overlays, resources and other information into it.

Formats

This is an incomplete outline of the EXE family of formats.

  • EXE
    • MS-DOS EXE
    • NE (New Executable, 16-bit)
    • Linear Executable
      • LE (mixed 16/32-bit)
      • LX (32-bit)
    • PE (Portable Executable)
      • PE32 (32-bit Windows)
      • PE32+ (64-bit Windows)

Related formats

EXE files often contain embedded "resources", such as icons. Utilities such as 7-Zip can be used to extract them.

Links

See also the articles for the specific EXE formats.

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