Questions tagged [executables]

For questions about executable binary files.

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7
votes
0answers
335 views

What is the origin of executable compression?

According to the wikipedia article on the topic, the earliest executable compressor listed is Realia Spacemaker for IBM PC (since 1982, written by Robert B. K. Dewar, SM.COM, signature "MEMORY$&...
-5
votes
1answer
129 views

Determine exact function of (assumed) DOS executable [closed]

Somewhat related to my other question, I would like to find out the exact condition/function of a binary file with the extension .DRV and these first eighty bytes. 00000000: 4d5a 8e00 5100 1400 2000 ...
12
votes
2answers
4k views

How can I extract the contents of a Windows 3.1 (16-bit) game EXE file?

I have a game that I can play in a Windows 3.1 emulator. Now I want to have a look "behind the scenes" of the game EXE file. I hope to find game graphics (sprites) there. But how can I ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

How can I tell whether a DOS-looking exe. requires a 32-bit CPU to run?

Is there some simple method for determining if a DOS (or OS/2, or Windows etc.) binary (.exe or .dll) is 16-bit or 32-bit? The Linux file command just says "executable". I want to ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does changing a DOS/Windows EXE cause it to not run? [closed]

If I hex-edit an EXE for DOS or Windows, by adding or removing some text for example, it will no longer run. If I just change a single char around to a different one, it may run. Is this some anti-...
3
votes
1answer
186 views

Loading a Tandy CoCo or a Dragon 32 machine code program from cassette with multiple “name blocks”

For the Dragon 32 and the TRS-80 Color Computer I've found two documents describing how loading from cassette tape works:Dragon 32 doc, CoCo doc. They both say that a standard program consists of a ...
12
votes
1answer
637 views

Why do PC DOS kernel files have the COM extension, even though they are not executable as COM files?

The PC DOS kernel is stored in files named IBMBIO.COM and IBMDOS.COM. Although they have the COM extension like executable files, neither of these files could actually be run from the command line, ...
17
votes
1answer
3k views

How did large .COM files work?

An MS-DOS .com file is just raw code/data without header, thus no linking information, and was limited to be loaded into just one segment (64kB). That's the reason corrupted binaries would print "...
6
votes
2answers
889 views

Are .COM executable binaries real mode or protected mode?

Windows and DOS binary executable files with the .EXE extension have an MZ header in them and nowadays also a PE header. But before these there used to also be .COM binary executable files and they ...
3
votes
2answers
618 views

What file formats were used for binary executable files on later Sinclair ZX Spectrums?

The last official version of the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was the +3, released after the company was owned by Amstrad. It included a 3-inch floppy disk drive as used on other Amstrad computers. But even ...
16
votes
5answers
2k views

What tools were used in late MS-DOS era for reverse engineering and patching binary executables?

In the late MS-DOS era, what were the state of the art software tools for reverse engineering and patching binaries, i.e. .exe and .com files? A simple list of the tools that were "state of the art", ...