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What Could Be Causing The File Open Error Messages

When you open a file in PE Explorer, you may receive one of these error messages.

1. Errors detected! Opening file in SAFE MODE.

The modification of resources is locked if the file has Import, Delay Import, or Export sections following the Resource section. It is also locked if the section contains other data (besides resources) present in the Data Directory. The exception is Debug Info since this information does not affect the program functionality. In the other cases PE Explorer adjusts all offsets in such a manner that the access to the Certificate Table and Debug Info remains correct and the given information is not lost.

Safe Mode

When encountering an error while opening a file, PE Explorer employs Safe mode. While in Safe mode, the data that caused the error cannot be operated on. Although this approach doesn't guarantee that the excluded file data is entirely error-free, it often allows you to work with damaged files, including those that are compressed.

The purpose of Safe mode is to provide a controlled environment where you can work with damaged files, such as compressed files, without causing further complications. It offers a measure of protection while allowing you to continue analyzing or examining the file, even in the presence of errors.

PE Explorer displays lines of messages in the bottom log window as follows:

The Import section follows the Resource section

It is highly likely that the executable file has been compressed using one of the many packers available, making it appear smaller. However, please note that PE Explorer currently detects and automatically unpacks only files compressed with UPX, Upack and NsPack, Thus, you have to go through the trouble of manually unpacking this compressed exe before you can view or change it.

Another reason may be that the file has been deliberately protected from reverse engineering, analysis, modifications, or cracking attempts.

This is not viewed as a bug. We are not going to defeat the security attempts of other software authors. Additionally, supporting the decompression of the numerous packers and protectors available publicly would be impractical due to their sheer volume and constant evolution.

2. Error: This is an NE Executable. Not supported!

An NE (short for "New Executable") file is a 16-bit application intended to run on outdated Windows 3 versions. The other notable executable types that run on MS platforms are "MZ" (DOS), "NE" and "LE" — those 16-bit formats are all obsolete.

PE Explorer is designed to work exclusively with 32-bit PE files and does not support 16-bit NE files or any other obsolete formats.

Error: This is an NE Executable

We have no intention of supporting 16-bit files. The name "PE Explorer" accurately reflects its specialization in working with Portable Executable files. We would choose a different name if the software were intended to handle 16-bit NE files or other outdated formats.

3. Error: This is NOT an EXE or DLL File

When you open a file in PE Explorer, it scans the PE format identifier within the file header rather than relying on file extensions. This means that the file can have any extension or even none at all, and PE Explorer will correctly identify it as a valid executable file if it contains the proper PE format.

Error: This is NOT an EXE or DLL File

If PE Explorer indicates that a file is not a valid executable file, it is indeed true. PE Explorer performs a thorough analysis of the file's structure and verifies the presence of the required Portable Executable (PE) format characteristics. If the file lacks these necessary attributes, PE Explorer will accurately identify it as not being a valid executable.



Then you need a binary hex editor: FlexHex editor. Use it for viewing and editing the raw data contents of files, inspecting binary output, examining the structure of proprietary closed-format data files or old data in unknown formats, quick fixing executable or data files, creating binary files for test runs, and more.


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