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executable file (exe file)

An executable file (exe file) is a computer file that contains an encoded sequence of instructions that the system can execute directly when the user clicks the file icon.

Executable files commonly have an EXE file extension, but there are hundreds of other executable file formats. Some executable files can run on any compatible system without requiring the existence of another program. Such files, which are considered to pose a high security risk, include EXE, BAT, COM, CMD, INF, IPA, OSX, PIF, RUN and WSH.

Here are a few actions you can take to reduce the risk posed by executable files:

  1. Block all e-mail attachments with suspect extensions.
  2. Disable script and macro execution in all programs.
  3. Set all trust levels to "do not trust" for programs, code, macros, etc.
  4. Prevent the installation or execution of unsigned and unapproved code.
This was last updated in March 2016

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