To start off with, the Windows pe file format also known as the pe format is a new form of the operating system. The file format organizes and stores data.

PE File Format
PE File Format | Image by Boskampi from Pixabay

Understanding pe file format:

The executable files follow a common file format, which means, files that have extensions like .exe; .dll; .sys, etc. follow a similar, specific format of the binary structure. It is a well-structured format that is not altered and has to work the way it is developed. It is considered one of the greatest tools that have helped in being an outstanding programmer. The basic idea behind developing such a system is a common file format structure for all Windows software.

The working:

The well-defined structure of the pe file format is laid down properly that further helps in the working. The change from 32-bit to 64-bit needed a few alterations in the format. There were no major changes made other than the widening of certain fields.

One very convenient feature put forward by the format is the fact that the structure of the data on the disk is similar to the structure of the data in memory. This helps in finding your data very easily and conveniently. Once your file is loaded into the memory, it is called a Module.

This module contains all the data that is required to complete a certain process. There is also a central locator to find all the files which is termed as WINNT.H. This also makes your work so much easier.

The pe file format distinguishes data and codes up to some extent. This distinction is done in two different sections. It is easy to separate code but the data includes multiple programs of reading or write-only or both. They can even contain API tables and other related resources. The sections are further named as per the data or code that is included in them. The names of the sections are only for our reference.

PE File – The structure:

The structure of the pe file format is fixed. The structure of the file remains unchanged for all files. As already noted above, the possible alteration between 32-bit and 64-bit files is the fact that there is a widening of a few fields. The file begins with a header and a file signature. After that is the optional header which is then followed by the section headers and their respective section bodies. The end of the file contains little diverse information like information related to table number, relocation, line number, and other string data.

Wrap Up

The Windows pe file format turns out to be a very useful software that not just helping in keeping track of data but also helps in the proper filing of the same. With the in-built system of distinguishing and diving code and data helps in further diversification of the information that is then safely stored into respectable sections. Moreover, the central locator makes your life easy but searching through all the information stored and taking you directly to the point you need to be. A great software programmer for all your needs!