What is an .exe?

An .exe is a very common file type. The .exe file extension is short for “executable.” These files are most commonly used on Windows® computers to install or run software applications. For every app or program you run on a Windows PC, the file that actually makes the computer run the program is the .exe. .Exe files can also be used to distribute viruses and other types of malicious software (or “malware”) that infect devices and steal information. 

If you receive an email or message asking you to run an .exe file, don’t download or open it unless you’re sure you know what it is and that it’s from a trusted source. It also doesn’t hurt to know your file types in general. For example, a music, picture, or document file is never going to have an .exe file extension. Even if you get a totally legitimate looking email from your grandma that says she wants to share pictures from your wedding, don’t open that file if ends with .exe. It’s probably from a scammer trying to spread malware.


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