EXE files are used as executable files and have been around since the first implementation of DOS (Disk Operating System). DOS was the first operating system which was used for personal PCs and was originally developed by IBM for the companyâ€™s business machines. Files that contain the file extension EXE can exist in multiple versions; however, the one aspect they have in common is that they are responsible for launching and starting programs on your PC.
EXE file extension has been carried over to Microsoft by Bill Gates, the creator of the Disk Operating System, and is currently used in many different operating systems in addition to Windows (MS-DOS). EXE files are found in multiple versions which include 16-bit, 32-bit, and 64-bit.
In terms of content, the information which is contained in EXE files includes executable code for starting up programs, data which is relevant to the program, and other extras such as icons. Files with the EXE extension can be opened and viewed using a number of methods.
How to Open EXE files
Executable files are often used to create malware which can be harmful to your PC and personal identity. Before you attempt to open and view an EXE file, make sure it is coming from a trustworthy source and is not an unknown file type. That said here are a few ways you can open files with the file extension EXE.
If the EXE file you want to open and view is self-extracting or originates from an executable archive, you can open it using a program such as WinRAR which will extract the files, so you can view the contents. Also, if there are other parameters contained within the EXE files, you may not be able to open them with the WinRAR program, and in this case, it is necessary to use a program such as Universal Extractor.
If you use the Windows operating system, you typically open an EXE file by double clicking on it, which opens and installs the program on your PC. You can also use a program such as 7-Zip to review the contents of an EXE file in Windows.
For Mac OS, if you have Windows installed, you can use VMware Fusion 4, Oracle VM VirtualBox, or Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac to open EXE files on a Mac PC. The Linux operating system uses CodeWeavers CrossOver and Cedega or, if you have Windows installed, you can use Oracle VM VirtualBox.
As an added note, if you want to view the actual source code of an EXE file, this is not an easy task since you are unable to do it with a standard program that is designed to unpack files. Additionally, code for the EXE extension is typically encrypted by software developers, so it cannot be easily accessed and edited. This prevents other users from stealing the code and duplicating a copy of the software program which may be protected by copyright.