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Name MS-DOS Executable
Other names EXE
Identifiers PUID:  x-fmt/409
Description An MS-DOS executable is synonymous with a program or application that can potentially be run on MS-DOS. An executable is a file-format object that is "compiled" from source code files written in languages such as C or C++. An MS-DOS executable is native to MS-DOS and early Windows versions, and like other executables or programs, provided a means of distributing applications that performed certain task(s). Executables are compiled to a certain register width, e.g. 8-bit, or 16-bit; which impacts the size of variables in memory, and may impact compatibilty on older or newer versions of an operating system respectively. Executables might require external libraries or configuration to function, and so the technical environment needed to run an executable should be documented and understood in order to preserve functionality over time and to protect future potential users of these files.
Orientation Text
Byte order  
Related file formats Has lower priority than Windows New Executable  
Has lower priority than Windows Portable Executable  
Has lower priority than Windows Portable Executable (32 bit)
Has lower priority than Windows Portable Executable (64 bit)
Technical Environment  
Supported until  
Format Risk  
Developed by None.
Supported by None.
Source Digital Preservation Department / The National Archives
Source date 17 Feb 2006
Source description 04/2024 (v.117): Description added as part of PRONOM Research Week 2023. Submitted by Ross Spencer.
Last updated 17 Apr 2024
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