How can I determine for which platform an executable is compiled?


I have a need to work with Windows executables which are made for x86, x64, and IA64. I'd like to programmatically figure out the platform by examining the files themselves.

My target language is PowerShell but a C# example will do. Failing either of those, if you know the logic required that would be great.

10/13/2008 3:16:55 PM

Accepted Answer

(from another Q, since removed)

Machine type: This is a quick little bit of code I based on some that gets the linker timestamp. This is in the same header, and it seems to work - it returns I386 when compiled -any cpu-, and x64 when compiled with that as the target platform.

The Exploring PE Headers (K. Stanton,MSDN) blog entry that showed me the offset, as another response noted.

public enum MachineType {
    Native = 0, I386 = 0x014c, Itanium = 0x0200, x64 = 0x8664

public static MachineType GetMachineType(string fileName)
    const int PE_POINTER_OFFSET = 60;            
    const int MACHINE_OFFSET = 4;
    byte[] data = new byte[4096];
    using (Stream s = new FileStream(fileName, FileMode.Open, FileAccess.Read)) {
        s.Read(data, 0, 4096);
    // dos header is 64 bytes, last element, long (4 bytes) is the address of the PE header
    int PE_HEADER_ADDR = BitConverter.ToInt32(data, PE_POINTER_OFFSET);
    int machineUint = BitConverter.ToUInt16(data, PE_HEADER_ADDR + MACHINE_OFFSET);
    return (MachineType)machineUint;
5/19/2009 11:11:09 PM

If you have Visual Studio installed you can use dumpbin.exe. There's also the Get-PEHeader cmdlet in the PowerShell Community Extensions that can be used to test for executable images.

Dumpbin will report DLLs as machine (x86) or machine (x64)

Get-PEHeader will report DLLs as either PE32 or PE32+

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