Windows Portable Executable aka (PE)

Windows operating system is the most popular one in the world. It was first produced in November 1985 under the direction of Bill Gates, founder and CEO of Microsoft. Initially, this operating system received commands and gave results using a command line interface. However, today it allows you to interact with your computer by using a Graphical User Interface (GUI). There are colorful icons to help you open files and programs.

Windows Portable Executable

The Windows operating system has been adapted for use in smartphones too. Every operating system has its own unique executable file. It is essentially a mirror indicating the capabilities of the respective operating system. Here is more about the windows portable executable file.

What is this file?

The windows portable executable (PE) file is a source of information about how the Windows operating system normally functions. This file was designed by Microsoft to be used in their x86 and x64 Windows operating systems. This file format is used for object code, DLL, executable, FON and core dump files. The PE file is essentially a data structure. It contains the information that is used by the Windows OS loader to deal with wrapped, executable code.

The parts of a Windows PE file

This file contains two main sections. They include:

• Header

• Section


This section is divided into sub-sections. They include the DOS MZ Header, DOS Stub, PE File Header and the Image_Optional_Header.

The DOS MZ Header occupies the first 64 bytes of every Windows PE file. This is so that the underlying MS-DOS system can recognize this file and run it. This header sub-section is also used quite often by malware analysis tools.

The DOS Stub is another sub-section which normally prints messages indicating the status of the PE file. An example of such is, “This program does not execute in DOS mode.” The instructions which the DOS Stub should print are stored in the winstub.exe operating system file.

The PE File Header contains some information about the structure of the file. You can learn about the location of the file and its size too. This file essentially performs memory mapping.


This is the main part of the windows portable executable file. It holds the main content of the file. Examples of this include the data, resources, code and executable files. A windows application normally has 9 parts. They include .idata, .pdata, .bss, .rdata, .rsrc, .edata, .text, .data, and .debug. The Section part of the PE file interacts with these parts. It can work with all or just some of them when the application is executed.


The windows portable executable is an important part of the operating system. It can be considered part of firmware. It is important for you not to edit or delete it. This can cause adverse effects across your entire system. The file is portable because you can use it in compatible operating system versions.

Examples of these are Windows 95, Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista and more. The windows portable executable is one of the unique characteristics of this operating system. It exhibits the characteristics of Windows and sets it apart from other operating systems in the world of Information Technology (IT).