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's compiled. On an IBM compatible computer, common executable files are .BAT, .COM, .EXE, and .BIN. On an Apple mac computer running macOS, the .DMG and .APP files are executable files. Depending on the operating system and its setup, there can also be other executable files.
How to run an executable file
- 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.
- 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 command 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 file named myfile.
Example of an executable file
You can download our download.exe file as an example test executable file to run on your computer. This executable file displays the message "Congratulations you've successfully downloaded an executable program file from the Computer Hope Website."