Executable envelopes

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File Format
Name Executable envelopes

Executable envelopes refers to a diverse class of files that use a standard executable format, but which were generated in a formulaic way from some original file (which may or may not have itself been executable). They usually consist of a boilerplate decoder section, plus a payload section that could potentially be extracted to a standard format.


Executable compression

Refer to Executable compression.

Executable protection

(password protection, obfuscation, authentication, tamper-proofing, expiration, etc.)

The Security section of the SAC collection has many such programs.

Some Executable compression utilities also have features of this type.

(TODO: Populate this section.)

Self-extracting archives

Most self-extracting archive formats are covered (or would be covered) in the article for the corresponding Archiving format.

A few are listed at Archiving#Self-extracting archives, especially if they have their own article.

Self-extracting installers

Self-extracting installer formats are listed at Archiving#Program/App/Applet/Installer specialized archive formats, along with other formats.

Executable documents

(A document in some known format, combined with a viewer for that format.)

Most such formats are covered (or would be covered) in the article for the corresponding document format.

Executable text

(plain text, text with simple markup, simple e-book formats, etc.)

Executable graphics

Some executable graphics formats are covered (or would be covered) in the article for the corresponding non-executable format (see Graphics), and not necessarily listed here.

Executable ANSI Art

(ANSI Art and related formats)

Other executable documents

Executable libraries

(Multiple executable files combined into one executable file, such that you can choose the one to execute.)

Executable sequencers

Utilities that combine two or more executable files into one that, in effect, executes the original files in sequence. The term sticker is sometimes used, which can refer to the utility, or to the component file that is playing the role of the appendage.

A variation of this is a utility that takes a document such as a text file, converts it to code that displays the document, and appends it to an arbitrary executable file.

Sketchy software alert: While legitimate uses exist, appending code to someone else's software is characteristic of computer viruses, and software "cracking" groups.

More examples may be found in archives of exetools.com.

Executable format conversion

(Utilities whose main purpose is conversion from one binary executable format to another, especially if they produce an envelope-like format.)

Compiled scripts

(Some compiled script formats don't fit this category very well, but may be listed here anyway.)

Transfer-encoded executables

(A file that remains executable despite having had a transfer encoding or the like applied. This is impossible or impractical with most executable formats, unless they are very "raw", as .COM format is.)

Special-purpose formats:


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