How to Open .EXE Files on Mac?

Summary: As you know, .exe files are Windows-based executable files that run only on a Windows PC. So, if you want to open .exe files on your Mac, you need special techniques to do so. Learn how to open .exe files on Mac using some tried and tested methods mentioned in this post. Also, download free Mac data recovery software to recover lost .exe files.

How to Open .EXE Files on Mac?

A lot of time, you need to run Windows software on your Mac. You can do this by downloading a specialized tool that lets you open .exe files on your macOS. Or, you can install a Virtual Machine that allows you to run Windows 10 on your macOS Big Sur or earlier, then run the .exe file on it. Another way is to install Windows 10 on your Mac by using the Boot Camp partition. These special techniques are presented next.

Use a Compatibility Software that Runs .EXE Files on macOS

You can use a compatibility software that can run Windows-based .exe files on your macOS. The software adds a compatibility layer to your Mac without emulating Windows hardware. It can translate Windows commands to macOS commands without reducing your Mac performance. One such software is WineBottler, which is open-source and free. Google the software, then download and install it on your Mac. Launch the software to install and run popular Windows programs on your Mac. You can also secondary-click the .exe file and open it with WineBottler to run the executable file on your macOS. Besides, with WineBottler, you can leverage CrossOver software to run .exe files on your macOS Big Sur or earlier. The software is not free, unlike WineBottler, but CrossOver has a simplified user interface.

Use a Virtual Machine on macOS to Run .EXE Files

Another way to open .exe files on the macOS environment is to use a virtual machine software that emulates Windows hardware. The software can affect your Mac performance, so you should avoid this method if you have an erstwhile Mac model. For newer Macs, virtual machine software can help run Windows 10 without much performance loss. One popular virtual machine software that you can use on your Mac to run .exe files is VirtualBox. The software is open-source and free. Besides VirtualBox, you can employ VMWare Fusion Player to launch Windows software from the Dock. It has more features than VirtualBox and can be used by home users for free.  


Use Boot Camp Partition to Install Windows 10 and Run .EXE Files

You can use the Boot Camp partition to install Windows 10 operating system on your Mac. The minimum requirement for a Boot Camp partition is 64 GB (recommended 128 GB) free storage. Whenever you need to open a .exe file or run Windows software, start or restart your Mac and select the Windows boot option; else continue with macOS. The advantages of this method over others are that you can open any .exe files without any trouble, and you won’t face any performance issues with your Mac. The only disadvantage with this method is that you need to restart your Mac every time you wish to run .exe files.

Lost .exe files on your Mac? Use a Data Recovery Software

You can also lose your valuable Windows files from the Boot Camp partition due to accidental file deletion, partition loss, drive formatting, and other logical data loss scenarios. In case you have lost your Windows files from the Boot Camp partition, you can use a free data recovery software for Mac to recover them. Steps are as follows:

a) Install and launch *Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition for Mac software on your MacBook, Mac mini, or iMac.

b) Watch the following video to recover your lost or deleted files (including .exe files) on macOS Big Sur.

*Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition for Mac helps free scan, free preview, and up to 1 GB free file recovery. To recover more, you need to upgrade the software to the professional or premium edition. Also, all Stellar products have a 30-day money-back guarantee, just in case.


Now you know how to open .exe files on your Mac. In case you need to recover your lost or deleted files from Windows via Boot Camp partition, use Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition for Mac to recover it. The software is fully compatible with macOS Big Sur and earlier.