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What is the .COM File Extension?

.COM File Extension Description:

The COM file extension was originally a text file that stood for "command file". Its main purpose was to store commands that were to be ordered to the computer's operating system, which was particularly true for the past mainframe and mini computers. However, today's microcomputers use files with the .com file extension as a simple executable file or process. The COM file extension is analogous to the .exe file extension, but is smaller and employs a simpler syntax without any metadata.

Another point of comparison is that while .exe files are qualified programs, .com files are usually used to carry out a list of instructions. If files have the same filename but one has the .exe file extension, while the other with the .com file extension, the COM file gets to be run first, if the filename is typed at the command prompt. Although the COM file extension is identical in MS-DOS and CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers), it is impossible to directly execute CP/M programs running on MS-DOS and vice versa.

Files with the .com file extension can still be executed on platforms that are Windows based and running in a subsystem emulating MS-DOS or in DOS emulators. As mentioned before, the COM file extension does not contain metadata, making it one of the uncomplicated executable formats. Relocation is not necessary because of its segmentation model. On the other hand, the binary of the COM file extension reaches up to 65,280 bytes in file size, and saves the codes, and the data in a single segment, thus making it difficult to use after the 16- and 32-bit processors that has bigger, segmented memories were introduced.

Some files may have the .com file extension, but do not possess the simple format. A way to identify the less simple file is to look at the magic number at the start of the file.

Author: Microsoft Corporation
Author URL:
Related Applications: MS-DOS, Microsoft Windows Operating Systems, Almost all applications/programs/software available
Common Path: N/A


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Do you have errors with .COM files?

What Causes .COM files Errors to Occur?

A typical and frequent reason for .COM files errors is corruption in the Windows program registry - fixing is needed to protect against further corruption in other applications and/or devices. During the time the errors continue your system remains capable of likely blue screen errors, system failure and fatal crashes.

What are the Symptoms of .COM files Errors?

.COM files errors bring on a range of symptoms, including but not limited to: system freezes on start up or shut down, softwares halt, reduced pc performance, built-in speaker beeps, problems accessing documents, slow system behaviour and program installation problems.

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