EXE File Extension  What is .Exe and how to open them? ▷ 2020

In the world of technology and computing, .exe files are one of the main and most important. These refer to data that is executable whose location is relocatable and its storage location is relative according to the user’s choice.

This format is widely used to create program installers, as they allow a large amount of data to be compressed and then run and installed in a path chosen by the user. But its use is much broader than that.

In this article we are going to explain in detail what .exe executables are and how they are used, so that it is clear to you how they work. In addition, we will give you a list of excellent applications to run these programs, so that you can freely use them on any of your devices.

What is .EXE files and what are they used for?

files with extension .EXE

Returning to what was said, an .exe responds to the abbreviation of English “executable” or “executable” in Spanish. This refers to a file that can be executed and whose data is stored according to the user’s preference, making it relative. The nature of this format basically depends on the operating system it is running on.

The first version of this appeared in 1983 and was known as “Executable 2.0” since it was developed for the operating system MSDOS and it was an alternative to older 1.0 that could only run COM files. Its appearance marked a before and after in the way in which programs were installed.

Previously, to install any software, it was necessary to copy file by file to a specific location on the computer. In a way it was like rewriting the program code again. However, with the appearance of the .exe format, the possibility of putting all the files in just one was born and then executing and decompressing them in any path that the user wishes.

The invention of MSDOS inspired other operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows, to create your own executables. That is why there are currently several types of .exe whose difference lies in the way they are identified, the operating system in which they can be run and the way they store data.

These are as follows:

  • Executable DOS or 2.0: this is identified with the ASCII letters “MZ” or with the hexagesimal code 4D 5A. At first it was only read by the MSDOS system, but later Microsoft would develop the ability to read it on its Windows.
  • New 16-bit executable: It is identified with the ASCII letters “NE” and was introduced with the appearance of the DOS 4.0 system, being compatible only with this system or with Windows and OS / 2 or higher. In a hexagesimal way it is identified as 4E 45.
  • 16Bit / 32Bit mixed executable– This was the first Macintosh executable for their OS / 2 2.0 system and was compatible with all Windows systems, but not DOS. Its exagesimal form is 4C 45.
  • 32Bits linear executable: it was also introduced with OS / 2 2.0 but in this case it can only be run on this system. It is identified in hexagesimal with the number 4C 58.
  • 32Bits portable executable– This was created by Windows and released in its NT version. Of all the known ones, it is the most complex since it can be ported and run on different computers. It is compatible with all versions of Windows created so far.
  • 64Bits portable executable: this is identical to the previous one with the difference that it is only compatible with 64-bit versions of Windows.

How to open and run .EXE files on smartphones or computers?

The .exe files are currently very evolved and basically all operating systems have their own version. The interesting thing about these is that they can automatically make any executable compatible with the system in question on which they will be run.

Here’s how you can run them on the main desktop and mobile operating systems:

On Windows PC

Doing this task in Windows is very simple, in fact you will not have to download any other program. What you have to do is simply right click on the .exe file and then select the option “execute as an administrator” and the program contained within will be installed with the assistant on duty.

Run MediaCreationTool as administrator

On Mac computers

In MacOS the procedure is the same, with the obvious differences between one interface and another. What you have to do is double left click on the file or right click and select the option “Run”. The content program will then be installed.

*Note: In if the .exe is an executable application, so it could be said that on Mac it would be .app although it is not really an equivalent as such. Therefore the .exe are not valid for Apple operating systems.

On Android mobile phones

The .exe format is unique to desktop operating systems and there is no mobile operating system that supports it. The closest thing in this case are the .APK, which contain applications that can be installed on Android. However, there are applications like Wine or ExaGear that allow you to install Windows programs on your mobile.

On iPhone devices with iOS

In iOS the same happens as in Android, this system does not have support for .exe and therefore you must use the jailbreak system to install applications on it without using the APP Store. However, also you have the option to use an emulator like Wine, Wineskin, or Winebottler to install Windows programs on iPhone or iPad.

List of the best alternative applications and programs to extract a file with extension .Exe

In addition to the default wizards that all operating systems contain, there are several alternatives for both desktop and mobile which are excellent for extracting a file with an .exe extension on any platform.


Wine download

Download Wine Emulator for Android

This is an emulator for Android and iOS that allows you to run and extract an .exe file on your mobile without any problem, but the interesting thing about this is that it also allows you to open a Windows or MacOS program and run it as if you were on a computer.



Download ExaGear Emulator for Android

Like the previous one, this is an excellent program that will help you extract and run .exe on Android and iOS and run the program as if you were on a computer. It is completely free.



Download Darwine for Mac

This is an executable .exe reader for desktop operating systems. In addition, it is also a very easy-to-use program installation wizard. You just have to download and install it. After this, when you right-click on the .exe file, you will see the option “Open with Darwine”.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, we will answer you as soon as possible, and it will surely be of great help to more members of the community. Thank you! 😉

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