EXE files are identified by the file extension
.exe. However, there are different data formats that take advantage of this extension. The most common EXE files are programs for MS-DOS / PC DOS or Windows.
The most important file formats are:
- 16-bit DOS MZ executable (MZ): The original EXE file format for executable files under MS-DOS / PC DOS.
- 16-bit New Executable (NE): successor to the MP format for 16-bit -Windows operating systems ( Windows 1.0 and later), multi-tasking MS-DOS 4.0 and OS / 2 1.x . For reasons of compatibility, this file format begins with the header of an MZ file, which is executed when the file is called under DOS. For most programs, however, this contains nothing more than the output of an error message, the so-called “DOS stub” (“This program cannot be run in DOS mode”).
- 32-Bit Portable Executable (PE): Successor to the NE format for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows operating systems ( Windows NT 3.1 and newer - Windows NT and Windows 9x line). Just like the NE format, it starts with the header of an MZ file.
- 32-Bit Linear Executable (LX): Executable file format mainly for OS / 2 2.0 , but also for some DOS extensions.
- 16/32 Bit Linear Executable (LE): Executable file format for OS / 2 2.0, Windows VxD device drivers and some DOS extensions.
The file extension is
.exealso used for executable files on the Symbian platform .
- Ray Duncan: Exploring Windows NT Executable Files . In: PC Magazine . Volume 12, No. 3 , 1993, p. 371 ff . ( Preview on Google Books ).
- DOS / 4G and DOS / 4GW FAQ: Executable File Format (s). In: tenberry.com. Tenberry Software Inc., February 6, 2003, accessed November 19, 2015 .
- Richard Harrison: Symbian OS C ++ for Mobile Phones . Wiley, 2003, ISBN 978-0-470-85611-6 , pp. 269 ( preview on Google Books ).