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Find out which version of Windows a program requires with ExeProperties

20 June 2016, Mike Williams

ExePropertiesYou’ve downloaded what looks like an interesting program, but it’s not working. Is it for 32, or 64-bit Windows? Maybe it needs a different Windows version? There’s no built-in way to find out.

ExeProperties is a tiny free Explorer extension which displays an EXE or DLL’s minimum requirements in a couple of clicks.

The program has no interface, doesn’t add any background processes or system tray icons. Install it and there’s no immediate sign that anything has changed at all.

There’s just one new feature. If you right-click an EXE or DLL file and select Properties, there’s now an extra “Exe/DLL Info” tab with three items of information.

“Type” tells you whether the file requires 32 or 64-bit Windows.


Find out more about EXEs or DLLs from their Explorer Properties dialog

“Min. Windows Version” displays the minimum Windows version required for the executable to run. The application may actually need some later version, depending on its design and other components, so you should probably interpret this as “version x or later”. (That is, if it says “Windows 7”, it could actually need 8 or 10, but you’ll know it won’t run on XP or Vista.)

There’s also a “Built With” entry which displays the version number of the tool used to build the EXE. Even developers may not care about this very much, and it can mostly be ignored.

ExeProperties doesn’t do much, but if you’re regularly downloading new software, it might help you understand or troubleshoot new executables.

If you need more power, PeStudio provides a host of low-level detail about any executable.

Alternatively, there’s a not-so-obvious trick you can use to see whether an EXE is 32 or 64-bit, without installing any extra software at all. Just open the file in Notepad, and in the first 256 bytes or so you’ll see “PE” and what looks like two spaces. If that’s followed by L (“PE  L”) the file is 32-bit, d (“PE  d”) it’s 64-bit.

Well, we did say it was not-so-obvious.

ExeProperties is a freeware program for Windows XP and later.

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