What is an EXE file?

A file exe is a computer file that ends with the exe extension and is known as executable file (in English executable). When an exe file is clicked, a series of instructions are executed on the system. These types of files are used to install, start programs and run applications. They were introduced in March 1983 in the MS-DOS operating system and are still used in the latest versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system and in other operating systems such as OS/2 and ReactOS.

Currently the most common exe files are 32 and 64 bit. Mac OS and Linux operating systems require a emulator to run applications in exe format, as this file format is not natively supported.

Exe files are one of the most useful and widely used file types precisely because they start and run programs, but this also makes them potentially dangerous. They can be used as a means of distribution of viruses and other malicious software. From the outside, an exe file containing a virus may appear completely benign and clicking on it may only appear to trigger an animation or a small video game while malicious code may be executing underneath and infecting the computer.

If someone runs a malicious exe file, you may see your computer become unstable in the hours or days that follow. Users often find no connection to the exe file they had previously run and blame system instability on other factors, such as the need for hard drive defragmentation. Viruses can steal personal information and send it over the Internet to an unknown destination or even delete the operating system's own files and put the computer out of action. These and other scenarios can occur just by clicking on a malicious exe file.

Due to the potential damage, it is necessary to be sure of the legal origin of the exe files. As a security measure, in addition to having an antivirus activated that works in real time, it is advisable to manually scan each file downloaded from the Internet and only download from trusted sites. It is also advised to disable the automatic loading of programs by Internet browsers, nowadays browsers come with this configuration by default and thus users are asked when a web page intends to load a program or exe file.

To prevent possible problems caused by malicious exe files as much as possible, experts recommend always having updated antivirus software, delete emails from unknown and suspicious senders without even opening them, and be careful when visiting disreputable web pages. Even when downloading exe files from trusted websites, it is better to scan them before running them as even those files that come from trusted sources may have been compromised by a third party without the consent of the original source.

The exe files are not intended to be edited by end users. Most exe files are a computer program and are usually copyrighted under terms issued by the author himself and are usually attached to exe files. In these cases editing an exe file is considered an illegal act. There are published programs with licenses that allow editing and modification, such as those of Open Source (open source) or public domain.

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