Difference between DLL and EXE

Posted by in .NET Framework category on for Beginner level | Points: 250 | Views : 2820 red flag

In this article, we shall learn basic difference between DLL and EXE.

  • A Dll is a Dynamic Link Library can not run itself, used as a supportive file to other application.
  • The Library Functions are Linked to the Application at Run Time (Dynamically) So the name is Dll. 
  • A Dll does not contain an entry point (main function) so can not run individually.


  • An Exe is executable file and is not a supportive file rather itself an application.
  • An Exe will contain an entry point (main function) so runs individually.
Can not run Individually 
Runs Individually
Used as supportive file for other Application
Itself an Application
Does not contain an entry point (no main function) so can not run individually
Contains an entry point (Main function) so can run individually
A Program /Application with out main creates a DLL after compilation.
A Program /Application With main creates an EXE after compilation.
OS does not create a separate process for any DLL rather DLL will run in the same process created for an EXE
OS Creates a separate process for each EXE it executes.
Note: Creating a process is an overhead to the operating system so DLL does not contain main function to reduce the burden on the OS.

This is my first article in dotnetfunda.
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Full Name: Raja PRS
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Member Since: 8/20/2015 6:36:37 AM
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Thanks -Raja

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