Open EXE file

EXE files: what are they and how do I open them?

exe file icon Are you facing difficulties opening unknown files on your computer, or wondering exactly what this file is?
We've got the information and best software solutions for opening these files effortlessly.

.exe file type #1: Windows executable program file

Files with exe extension have been the standard for primary executable files since the era of MS-DOS and are still used as main executable files in Windows.

Further details:

EXE file (short for 'executable') is a type of file that contains a software program - that is, a particular kind of file that is capable of being executed or run as a program in the computer. 

These files were originally used in MS-DOS, but nowadays are just common program executables on Windows platform. They come in either 16/32/64-bit version variants.

When a user double-clicks on an EXE file, the operating system runs the program or software contained within that file. This file format is primarily associated with the Windows operating system.


Open file with:

Microsoft Windows icon

Microsoft Windows

A series of operating systems developed by Microsoft

Microsoft Visual Studio icon

Microsoft Visual Studio

IDE for creating programs, or websites and web applications

Microsoft Windows 11 icon

Microsoft Windows 11

Latest version of Windows OS

Microsoft Windows 10 icon

Microsoft Windows 10

Operating system for deskop, laptop and tablet computers

Microsoft Windows 8 icon

Microsoft Windows 8

First operating system from Windows family designed with touchscreens in mind

Microsoft Windows 7 icon

Microsoft Windows 7

One of the newer members of Windows OS family

Microsoft Windows Vista icon

Microsoft Windows Vista

One of the members of Windows operating system family

WinOnX icon


Software for running Windows apps on Mac

Microsoft Windows XP Professional icon

Microsoft Windows XP Professional

One of the most successful members of Windows operating system family

Microsoft Windows 2000 icon

Microsoft Windows 2000

Old 32-bit operating system from Windows family

.exe file type #2: Canvas X slide show

Files with exe extension might also be slide shows exported from Canvas X software. Standalone, self-running app that contains the slideshow.

Further details:

File extension exe is also used for the default slide show export format in Canvas X graphics suite.

Slideshows in can be saved either as the the default .cvx files, or as a self-running application that can only be executed on a Windows platform without the need to have Canvas X installed on the system.

Open file with:

Canvas X icon

Canvas X

Latest version of Canvas drawing software

.exe file type #3: Compressed file archive that self-extracts

Files with exe extension can also appear as unique self-extracting compressed archives. Essentially, these are archives that include a small executable program that decompresses the archive.

Further details:

EXE file is a type of computer file that runs a program when it is opened. This means it executes a sequence of instructions when you double-click it.

A self-extracting compressed file archive is a type of EXE file that contains one or more files that have been compressed to reduce their size. When you open this type of EXE file, it automatically decompresses the files and installs them on your computer.

This is often used for software installation. Instead of requiring the user to have a separate program to decompress a file archive, the self-extracting archive does it automatically. This makes it easier for users to install software, especially if they are not very tech-savvy.

Open file with:

WinRAR icon


One of the oldest and most popular shareware file archiver and data compression utility

WinZip icon


Popular file archiver for Windows

7-zip icon


Popular open source file archiver with a high compression ratio

WinACE Archiver icon

WinACE Archiver

A compression utility for Microsoft Windows

The Unarchiver icon

The Unarchiver

A decompression utility used to replace default unpacker software on Mac

Advanced Zip Repair

A ZIP archive fixing tool

PKZIP for Windows

A compression tool used to create ZIP archives

Advanced RAR Repair icon

Advanced RAR Repair

A RAR archive repair utility

What is the meaning of a file extension?

File extensions are characters that appear after the dot in a computer file's name. For example, the file "unknown-file.exe" has the file extension "exe". This is used to identify which program should open the file or what file type it is.
File extensions help you organize and manage files. They provide a quick and easy way to identify and associate the file type with the appropriate software.

We can help you open your file

In our database, we have collected a huge number of different file extensions, detailed descriptions, and programs that can be used to open or otherwise work with the file extensions listed in our database.
This database is an invaluable resource for users who want to understand better file extensions and what they can do with them. It also allows users to know different file types with the same purpose.

Only verified software links are provided

We have verified every software listed in our database. The software listed in our database includes links to the developer's or software's website. These links should allow you to download the right program for each file type. Using verified software from reputable sources helps minimize the risk of malware and viruses infecting your computer.