The File Extensions Database

.EXE File Extension

  • Developer by: Microsoft
  • Category: Executable Files
  • Format: Binary

What is an .EXE file?

.EXE is Windows Executable File

An EXE file contains an executable program for Windows. EXE is short for "executable," and it is the standard file extension used by Windows programs. For many Windows users, EXE files are synonymous with Windows programs, making ".exe" one of the most recognizable file extensions.

EXE files contain binary machine code that has been compiled from source code. The machine code is saved in such a way that it can be executed directly by the computer's CPU, thereby "running" the program. EXE files may also contain resources, such as graphics assets for the GUI, the program's icon, and other resources needed by the program.

On non-Windows platforms, such as macOS and Linux, EXE files are not used for executables. macOS, for example, uses .APP files to run apps. However, if you would like to run an EXE file on a non-Windows platform, you can use a virtual machine, such as Parallels Desktop or VM VirtualBox, which allows Windows to be run within a non-Windows environment.

Common EXE Filenames

Setup.exe - A very common name for software program installers. When opened, it starts the installation process.

Install.exe - Another popular name for software installers.

cmd.exe - The shell program used by Windows 2000 and later, replacing the COMMAND.COM shell.

Programs that open Windows Executable File
Microsoft Windows
WinRAR 5
Parallels Desktop for Mac with Microsoft Windows installed
VMware Fusion with Microsoft Windows installed
Oracle VM VirtualBox with Microsoft Windows installed
CodeWeavers CrossOver
Kronenberg WineBottler
Xamarin Mono
CodeWeavers CrossOver
Oracle VM VirtualBox with Microsoft Windows installed
Xamarin Mono
File Type 2 Application
Developer by: Rare Ideas Category: Executable Files Format: Binary

Computer program that can run from a portable device such as a USB flash drive, iPod, or portable hard drive; contains user settings on the portable device, allowing the program to run the same on multiple computers.

Portable apps use the compound file extension .PAF.EXE.

Programs that open Application
Rare Ideas Platform

How to solve problems with EXE files

  • Associate the EXE file extension with the correct application. On :
    Windows: Right click on any EXE file and then click "Open with" > "Choose another app". Now select another program and check the box "Always use this app to open *.EXE files". Mac: Right click (or Ctrl-click) the EXE file, then click "Open with" > "Other...". Then choose another program and check the "Always Open With" box. Linux: Right click on the file, and select "Open with" and choose another program. iPhone: Tap the file. If you do not see an app to open the file, then tap Share "Share" and choose an app. Alternatively, save the file. Then open the Files app Files app. There long-press on the file, then release your finger. You will see a black menu bar. Then tap "Share" and select an app. Android: Tap the Settings icon on your smartphone, then tap on the Apps section. There tap the Options icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen to change the default apps.
  • Update your software that should actually open .EXE is Windows Executable File. Because only the current version supports the latest EXE file format. Search, therefore, e.g. on the Microsoft manufacturer website after an available .EXE is Windows Executable File update.
  • To make sure that your EXE file is not corrupted or virus-infected, get the file again and scan it with antivirus software.