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An executable file is used to perform tasks according to encoded instructions. Executable files are sometimes also referred to as binaries which technically can be considered a sub class of executable files.

There are multiple families of executable files:

  • Scripts; e.g. shell scripts, batch scripts (.bat)
  • DOS, Windows executable files (.exe) which can be of various formats like: MZ, PE/COFF, NE
  • ELF
  • Mach-O

External Links





  • pefile, multi-platform Python module to read and work with Portable Executable (aka PE) files