PE Explorer 1.99 R6

PE Explorer 1.99 R6

Reviewed by Gary Oldwood on - Version tested: 1.99 R6

"EXE and DLL File Editor & Win32 Disassembler"

Overview

With PE Explorer you can inspect a variety of Windows executable files (also known as PE files) such as EXE, DLL, ActiveX Controls, XP Visual Styles, Screen Savers and others. With its enhanced functionality users who make their first steps in this area will need to spend some time to get accustomed with the program before they can edit files with ease, whilst professionals can use it for more advanced tasks such as disassembling an application or library using PE Explorer Disassembler.

Installation

It has a very quick and easy installation that doesn’t need any special knowledge to complete it. At one of the steps you are asked if you want to add PE Explorer to the context menu.

The supported operating systems are Windows 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista and 7.

Interface

If you run PE Explorer without having any files open, the main window will be showing an introductive screen about what PE Explorer does, next to some links that open up particular topics on the Help Files of the program. When you open an executable file you can view its headers’ info split in two boxes, and you can change it from the View menu to show the Data Directories or the Section Headers. At the bottom is a log window which keeps track of the actions performed, as well as shows warnings and information about the executables.

Pros

PE Explorer can open all executable files regardless of their state, meaning that it has no trouble opening damaged or corrupt executables.

The program’s capabilities can be expanded by adding custom plugins. This way you can perform tasks you couldn’t before, or simplify the process of doing so manually yourself. Already included plugins are UPX Unpacker, UPack Unpacker and NSPack Unpacker.

The Import and Export Viewers allow you to check function entries, and by clicking on one the calling syntax for that function will be displayed. From there you can add your own definitions to the syntax database.

Another impressive feature that PE Explorer has is the Dependency Scanner. This tool you scans and shows the libraries that this executable is linked to, saving you time from finding out yourself. Sometimes it is nearly impossible or requires a lot of effort to find the linked modules yourself, since they are not packed with the executable because they already exist in the operating environment, thus saving space in the package. Dependency Scanner will accurately show you all the DLL dependencies of the executable.

Cons

It doesn’t really have any cons, as it is fully-packed. We also experienced no bugs or glitches.

But since it is shareware it does have a few limitations before buying the full product so you should be aware of them. You can’t save all resources to disk at once, the options to create Windows 7 compatibility and DPI-Aware sections in the Manifest are disabled along with the removal of relocations and debug information. Also, saving and loading the disassembly listing and all the changes made are disabled, as are the options to mark blocks in Disassembler as Byte, WORD, QWORD, DWORD and GUID.

Alternatives

Anolis Resourcer is an open source PE files editor for Windows. With it you can easily change resources within Win32 executables, but are some differences in features compared to PE Explorer (e.g. the Disassembler). Restorator 2007 is quite a powerful and versatile software that allows you to edit PE and RES files. It is friendlier for the user and has more features than PE Explorer, like the ResPatcher, which allows you to create patches that re-do your changes so that others can apply them on their systems just by launching the executable patch file. But it’s not easy to say which one of those two is better, so we recommend you try them both as they come with trial versions.

Conclusion

PE Explorer is directed to more experienced users due to its interface (which in some cases is good, like when you want an overview of a PE file), but that doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for less professional tasks. Once you get the hang of it, you will find it extremely helpful in the analysis of PE files.

Requirements: 16 MB RAM

What's new in this version: Added the options to create the Windows 7 Compatibility and DPI-Aware sections in the Manifest Wizard, mark blocks as Byte, Word, DWord, QWord and GUID.

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Antivirus information

Download3K has downloaded and tested PE Explorer on 11 Mar 2012 with some of Today's best antivirus engines and you can find below, for your convenience, the scan results:
  • Avira:

    Clean
  • Bitdefender:

    Clean
  • Kaspersky:

    Clean
  • NOD32:

    Clean
PE Explorer Antivirus Report

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