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Posted on 1998-11-09
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Why do exe files have signature "MZ" ?      What is the expansion for "MZ" ?
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Question by:jameen
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by:Nanos
ID: 1012271
Please explain more on what you mean.. what is this signature?
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MasseyM earned 200 total points
ID: 1012272
The MZ are initials fo one of Microsoft's lead programmers that was instrumental in the compilation of code.  

Check this article:
http://www-personal.monash.edu.au/~damcc5/doswin/dosexec.htm
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by:vikiing
ID: 1012273
As Massey said, they're the initials of the guy's name who worked on that matter at Microstuff (some centuries ago).

The main purpose of those letters "MZ" that appear as the two first bytes of every .EXE file, is to differentiate the .EXE from a .COM file.

Althoug both of them are binary files, and whose contents are intended to be executed directly by the machine (in fact, both of them contain binary instructions understood by the processor), they receive different treatment. A real .EXE file is slightly different from a .COM

If you RENAME a .COM file as if it were a .EXE, operating system ignores that fact, 'cause it doesn't regard of extension itself (.COM / .EXE). When file is loaded into memory, op.sys. checks the first two bytes, if they are "MZ", file is treated as a .EXE one; if not, file is treated as .COM


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