"EXE" redirects here. For other uses, see EXE (disambiguation).
.exe is a common filename extension denoting an executable file (the main execution point of a computer program) for DOS, OpenVMS, Microsoft Windows, Symbian or OS/2. Besides the executable program, many .exe files contain other components called resources, such as bitmap graphics and icons which the executable program may use for its graphical user interface.
16-bit New Executable
When a 16-bit or 32-bit Windows executable is run by Windows, execution starts at either the NE or the PE, and ignores the MZ code known as DOS stub. Started in DOS the stub typically displays a message "This program cannot be run in DOS mode" (or similar) before exiting cleanly. A few dual-mode programs (MZ-NE or MZ-PE) such as regedit and older WinZIP self extractors include a more functional DOS section.
32-bit Portable Executable
Introduced with Windows NT, these can be identified by the "PE" in ASCII (although not at the beginning; these files also begin with "MZ").
64-bit Portable Executable (PE32+)
Introduced by 64-bit versions of Windows, this is a PE file with wider fields. In most cases, code can be written to simply work as either a 32 or 64-bit PE file.