What is the difference between an EXE and a DLL and how is it getting generated?

You can choose between creating an EXE or a DLL when writing Dot NET code. Both of these include executable code, however, DLL and EXE operate differently from one another. The EXE will create its own thread and reserve resources for it if you run it. A DLL file, on the other hand, is an in-process server, so you cannot run a DLL file on its own. A DLL's code is used by a running application by loading and calling the DLL.

  • The primary objective of a DLL is to facilitate the process of compartmentalizing a computer program. This simplifies things and makes it less difficult to pinpoint where the issues are.

  • If you were to compile all of your code into a single executable, it would be quite huge and would take a considerable amount of time to load. When you employ DLLs, you not only gain portability but also the benefit of reusability.

  • If you have some code that can convert an existing file to a different format, for instance, and you put that code into a dynamic link library (DLL), you will be able to utilize that function in virtually any software you develop. If you put it inside an EXE file instead, only the application to which it was originally directed would be able to use it because the function would not be visible to any other programs. Consequently, utilizing DLLs is highly beneficial for jobs that are more broad in nature.

When writing a program using Dot Net, you are required to create an executable because the user will be the one to run the application. The EXE file is vital because it acts as the entrance point or beginning point for the software that you are using. After that, you are free to have an unlimited number of DLLs. It is not a good idea to have more than one EXE because one cannot be used in conjunction with the other.

What is an EXE?

The programs that need to be compiled on Windows are known as "EXE files" and have an.exe extension.

An executable file is referred to as an EXE. When opened, its primary purpose is to launch a program. This is accomplished by running specific scripts or using some of the data present in the file.

When a program or app is started on a Windows computer, the ".exe" file actually enables the program or app to function. However, the plugin also has the potential to be exploited to propagate viruses and malware.

When downloading an ".exe" file from an unknown source, users need to be cautious. The likelihood of it containing malware is at its highest.

There are essentially two categories of executable files. Both files were assembled from their respective source codes. The CPU executes the binary-coded codes after they have been transformed.

  • Compiled Program − Compilation programs are the ones that have an.exe file extension on Windows.

  • Scripts − Scripts are executable files that have not been built. These documents are kept in plain text format. Scripts typically lack machine code that can be executed; hence an interpreter is needed to run the program.

What is DLL?

A Dynamic Library Link, known as a ".dll" file, is a type of file that comprises of specific instructions that are utilized by other applications when they are required. A Windows program can utilize this library to gain access to a variety of different types of information and functions.

There is no way for DLL files to execute code on their own. They must instead be invoked by some other piece of code that is now being executed on the machine.

The word "dynamic" is utilized when referring to a dynamic link. This indicates that the data is utilized in the programs only when the programs specifically request its utilization. The information is not accessible at all times from within the memory. The.dll file extension is what defines a file as a DLL.

These are constructed using the computer language C++ for the most part. Therefore, anyone who understands how to code is capable of effortlessly writing their very own DLL code.

The normal installation of Windows makes available a vast collection of DLL files. However, third-party programs can potentially install them on your computer. Through the use of DLL files, we can decouple individual software components into their own distinct modules. DLL makes it possible to get the latest version of the program without having to completely reinstall it every time there is an update.

Difference between EXE and DLL

The following table highlights the major differences between EXE and DLL −

Basis of Comparison EXE DLL
Full-Form It stands for executable files. Dynamic Link Library is what the abbreviation stands for.
Runtime Exe files are autonomous. They are able to run independently without the support of other apps. These are typically utilized in the background as a supporting file in order for other apps to function properly.
Numbers When only one application is being discussed, only one executable file will be present in the package. There is no predetermined order for DLL file numbers. It is possible that there are multiple DLL files.
Memory Because of the extension, additional storage and memory are required. Does not require any more memory space. makes use of the memory that is allocated to the application in which it is now running.
Sharing It is not possible to share this information with other applications. Because of this, they cannot be reused. It is possible to share this information with other programs. They can be used more than once.
Type An exe is a program DLL is a library


It is possible to refer to the identifiers that are written at the end of the name of a computer file as the file extension. There are many different sorts of file extensions, the most prevalent of which being probably.exe and.dll.

These two terms are frequently mistaken with one another by people. Both of these ideas, however, are entirely distinct from one another.

Independent execution of DLL is not possible. It is highly likely that they are used as a supporting file in order to execute other apps. In addition to this, there is no dedicated memory storage region within them.

The file extension EXE designates a type of executable file that can operate on its own. They can be put into action without the need for any auxiliary programs or applications.

Updated on: 04-Aug-2022

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