In computer-executable file is a file or program that performs some tasks according to the encoded instructions. A data file can be opened and read but an executable file cannot be opened or read as it is compiled. The encoded sequences of instructions in an executable file are executed directly when a user clicks the executable (exe) file. On a Windows computer, the compiled programs have a .exe file extension. On a Macintosh computer, the compiled programs have a .app extension.

You may notice that when you access an exe file, it is opened and executed. If you installed a program in a Windows computer you may be noticed that an exe file installed in that program folder in the Windows Program Files directory.

On the Windows Start menu, Taskbar and Desktop you can see shortcuts. Shortcuts are links that link back to the executable file. So when you click a shortcut, the executable file is executed from the installed location. In the program, shortcut right-click and click Properties. In the Software properties popup window, in Target you can see the location of the exe file. Here in the above screenshot, the target location is “C:\Program Files(x86)\software\application.exe”. Here application.exe is the executable file of Application. You can copy and paste the file location in file explorer to find the exe file. Here “C:\Program Files(x86)\software\” is the location or path of the executable file.

You can also find the location of the executable file using Windows Task manger. Open the Task Manager, find the program from the list that you want to find the executable file (You can find the Task Manager by typing Task Manager in Windows Search box). Right-click the program and click on Open File Location. The folder contains the exe file that is opened and you can find the executable of the program that you are looking for.

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