What Is an EX_ File?

Here's how to decompress an EX_ file to an EXE file so you can open it

What to Know

  • An EX_ file is a compressed EXE file.
  • In Command Prompt, enter expand file.ex_ new.exe to create an EXE file. Double-click it to use it.
  • Some EX_ files can be opened by just renaming them to .EXE.

This article describes what an EX_ file is and how to use one in Windows.

What Is an EX_ File?

A file with the EX_ file extension is a compressed EXE file. This format stores an EXE file with a smaller size to save storage space. You might also find the EX_ format within compressed installation files that you download from the internet.

Windows can't execute an EX_ file. For example, you can't accidentally open one to run the program until the file exists as an EXE file.

EX_ Files in Windows 10

Take great care when opening executable files. These files can be extremely dangerous to your system, personal data, and overall security. Never open an executable file sent to you over email or that you don't know explicitly what it does.

How to Open an EX_ File

You'll first need to convert the EX_ file to an EXE file before you can run the file. You can do that with the expand command from the Windows Command Prompt.

However, for this command to work, you have to make Command Prompt work from the correct folder. If you're using Windows 11, you can right-click an empty space somewhere in the same folder as the file, and select Open in Terminal to immediately focus on the right folder.

Or, for other versions of Windows, after opening Command Prompt, use the cd command to change the directory to the one that has the EX_ file. For example:

cd C:\Users\Tim\Desktop\Files

Then, enter this command, substituting file.ex_ with the name of your file (the second new.exe is the name you want to give the expanded file):

expand file.ex_ new.exe

The new EXE file will be created as named. No changes will be made to the original EX_ file.

Another way to do this is to type expand followed by a space. Then, drag and drop the EX_ file into Command Prompt. This trick automatically fills the location and name of the file.

Still Can't Open the File?

If your file doesn't open at this point, make sure you're really dealing with an EX_ file. Some file extensions look really similar, and if you confuse another file for one that ends in EX_, and try to open it like you read above, it probably won't work at all.

Some examples of similar file extensions include EX4, EXO, EXP (Symbols Export), and EX (Euphoria source code). If you have any of those files, you'll probably need a different program on your computer to open/edit/convert it.

  • Are EX_ files dangerous?

    They can be. Like .EXE files, if you download an EX_ file from the internet, it could contain a virus or other malicious software. One way to tell if a file is legit or not is the file name. If you see an ._ex file extension instead of .ex_, it could be spyware. Make sure the files you download are from a source you trust.

  • How do you run an .exe file in Command Prompt?

    First, locate the file path of the folder containing the .exe file. For example, if it's in the Downloads folder, the file path might be something like "C:\Users\chesh\Downloads." Open the Command Prompt and type in cd [filepath], replacing [filepath] with the location of your .exe file. Press Enter. Once you're in the right location, type start [filename.exe] and press Enter to run the executable file.

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