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"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.[2][3] 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[4] and older WinZIP self extractors include a more functional DOS section.[5]

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").[6]
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.