New Executable

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New Executable
File extension : .exe, .dll, .fon
Magic number : 4D 5A hex
Initial release: 1985
Type: Executable Files ( EXE ), Dynamic Libraries ( DLL )
Bitmap Fonts (FON)
Extended by: MZ file

New Executable ( English executable for executable ') is a 16-bit - file format for executable files under Microsoft operating systems, which as a successor to the MZ format applies. It was used in 16-bit Windows operating systems , the multitasking system MS-DOS 4.0 , OS / 2 1.x, and in the OS / 2 subsystem from Windows NT up to version 5.0 ( Windows 2000 ).

The successor is the portable executable format for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows.


For reasons of compatibility, programs in the New Executable format begin with the header of an MZ file , which is executed when the program is called under DOS . For most programs, however, this contains nothing more than the output of an error message, the so-called “DOS stub ” - the output reads This program cannot be run in DOS mode . However, complete fat binaries for DOS and Windows are also available . H. with a full DOS and Windows version of the program. From this possibility z. B. the setup program ( ) of Windows 3.1 use. SETUP.EXE

Although primarily developed for 16-bit Windows operating systems, files in the New Executable format can also be executed under 32-bit Windows. Operating systems from Windows Vista can no longer display icons from New Executable files.

16-bit programs cannot be executed on 64-bit Windows systems. NE files are still in use on all Windows systems, since bitmap fonts ( .fon) are technically NE files, although they do not contain any executable code.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Ray Duncan: Exploring Windows NT Executable Files . In: PC Magazine . tape 12 , no. 3 , 1993, p. 371 ff . ( - preview).
  2. Windows 3.1 Setup Information. Microsoft , July 2, 2002, accessed November 19, 2015 .
  3. Run an old program on a new PC. PC World , August 12, 2013, accessed November 20, 2015 .
  4. Windows Confidential - 16-Bit Icons Are So Passé.