An executable file is a file that is used to perform various functions or operations on a computer. Unlike a data file, an executable file cannot be read because it has been compiled. On an IBM compatible computer, common executable files are .BAT, .COM, .EXE, and .BIN. Depending on the operating system and its setup, there can also be several other executable files.
- To execute a file in MS-DOS and numerous other command line operating systems, type the name of the executable file and press enter. For example, the file myfile.exe is executed by typing myfile at the prompt.
- Other command line operating systems such as Linux or Unix may require the user to type a period and a forward slash in front of the file name, for example, ./myfile would execute the executable file named myfile.
- To execute a file in Microsoft Windows double-click the file.
- To execute a file in other GUI operating systems, a single or double-click will execute the file.