What Executable File Types are Commonly used?

The Executable file types are special formats or simply text scripts, which can be run directly by the computer operating systems. These files are usually created from the source code of a programming language and usually non-readable, non-editable and created by a compiler in binary format. This article provides the knowledge about the common executable file formats used now a days.

BAT file format

BAT file format consists of a script included to automate sequences of command iteratively. The term “batch” is short for batch processing, considering as “non-interactive execution”. However, a batch file may not process a batch of multiple data. The batch file was run in DOS (Disk Operating System) under the command line interface by typing the filename and the extension .bat. Read more details here.

CGI file format 

CGI scripts facilitate the users on web servers to configure how a URL will be handled. This job is usually done by marking a new directory (in main directory location) as containing CGI scripts; commonly known name of it is “cgi-bin”. For example, /usr/local/apache/htdocs/cgi-bin could be picked as a CGI directory on the web server. You can read more details by clicking here.

COM file format

COM file format is a famous binary executable format used in Microsoft Windows or DOS operating systems. Its structure made up of a set of instructions and it has no header and contains no standard metadata. It saves all of its data and code in one segment only and its binary has maximum 64KB in size. The operating system loads COM file at a pre-set address because it doesn’t relocate itself when try to re-run. Learn more about COM file format by clicking here.

EXE file format

EXE is short for executable. An EXE file consists of an executable program which can be run on Microsoft Windows operating system. Whereas the executable file has no extension on UNIX operating system. The general concept is to set various segment registers in the x86 CPU (CS, DS, ES, SS) to refer to the different or same segments, therefore allowing many different degrees of access to memory. You may learn more by reading this article.

MSI file format

MSI file, also known as “Windows Installer”, consists of an API and software component of Microsoft Windows utilize for the installation, removal, and maintenance of a software. The installation information, and the other optional files, are packed as installation packages. Click here to see more details


In this article, you have learned about the Executable file formats and commonly used executable file types. You can learn more about various file formats using the documentation. In case you would have any questions, let us know via our forum.