The executable file which is lovingly called the dot exe file is the staple of modern programs. It was made to be the doorway to an application and is still extremely popular on the Windows platform. If you are a designer, a gamer or anyone who like productivity you would have faced this very common file format in your life. But why can’t you open exe files on Android?
Well the short answer is that you can open exe files on Android but…well there is always a but in cases like these unfortunately. You can only open certain exe files on Android devices and that too with extremely limited usage. Some advanced users especially gamers who are into old video games can actually use the feature to run some games with limited controls on Android.
However in the grand scheme of things, you just can’t randomly drop a full video game on your Android device and start playing. If you are here because you wanted to play Half Life or Counter Strike on your Android device, this article will definitely disappoint you. But if you are insistent on making old-school games working via emulation, you can achieve that too.
Doom for instance can run by using Windows 98 emulation. If you are here because you are curious, I will try my best to satisfy your curiosity without killing you (this is the cat joke, I like you though). However I request you to go on your own quests for knowledge because this article is not about running Diablo II on Android.
Suffice to say if you are not adapt in opening, running or making exe files this article will confuse you. If you do know how the magic happens and just want a simple answer, this article will nudge you in the right direction. I will still use the overly simplified terms which Joy of Android is known for so that everyone will understand what mumbo jumbo I’m writing to some extent.
Method 1: Use a DOS BOX
If you don’t know what a Dos Box is, well you should probably don’t move ahead with this method. But for the sake of ease, a dos box is an app which opens up a command line on your Android phone. Much like the one you can open on your Windows by pressing Windows + R and typing in CMD.
There are a lot of DOS boxes available on the Google Play Store. I prefer aFreeBox which provides some additional features. Here is a link for that if you are interested:
Download the app and install it on your Android device.
Place the exe file you are going to run in the root folder and name the folder something convenient. For the sake of this guide let’s say the folder is called Spongebob.
Run the app that was just installed and when it is fully active, type in “cd\Spongebob” into the command line. Here Spongebob is a place holder folder name. It could be anything you desire. Press enter on your Android keyboard. Don’t worry about case sensitivity; there is no need for that.
Now you will be inside the folder in which the exe resides. From there type in the exe name in the command line, you don’t need to put in the .exe at the end too.
If the exe is compatible, you will be able to run exe file on Android.
Method 2: Use Inno Setup Extractor
This method will allow you to extract Inno setup files on your Android device. This is a very straightforward method and won’t even need to be explained in steps. If you don’t know what inno setups are, this is probably not the method for you. Here is the link of the app:
Download and install it. After that, simply place the setup files on your Android device, locate them with a good file manager for Android and open them with this app. The app will automatically extract the files which can be further pursued at your own leisure and convenience. And yes there are no extended steps for this method.
Android is a very open platform and there is no doubt that one day it will even be able to run full Windows programs on smartphones and tablets. Until that future day arrives, we are not going to access exe files on Android with ease and with full functionality. This is just a jury-rigging method which will only work for advanced Android and Windows users. There are some good videos on Youtube about using DOS Boxes on Android; I recommend that you watch them too. If you have any questions or suggestions, kindly talk to me in the comments below.