|This article does not cite any references or sources. (November 2006)|
In the process of "cracking" software, a fixed EXE is an executable file that has been changed from the original in interest of bypassing the security or coding intended to prevent free use of software. In some programs, the .exe file contains the code necessary for entering the serial number or prevents the running of the program without the CD present. By "fixing" the .exe file, the programmer intentionally bypasses these restrictions.
Although many legitimate owners of software use fixed EXEs in order to overcome annoyances (such as having to find the CD and have it in the computer drive), opponents of the practice argue that the main use is to allow pirated software to work. This action is arguably illegal in many jurisdictions and against many new laws concerning copyright infringement.