A binary file is any file that isn't a text file. Binary files are constructed from any sequence of 0s and 1s without restriction. By contrast, text files are restricted to the binary codes of a character set. The following are common types of binary files.
ExecutablesFiles that are designed to run on computer hardware such as business software or an operating system file.
DatabasesDatabases store their data in binary files. Exceptions exist such as simple flat file databases.
Application DataApplication data, or app data, is information generated by software that isn't stored in a database but rather in a file. For example, an email client may store communications in a binary data file.
MediaMedia files such as video and images are binary.
DocumentsDocuments produced by office productivity software. Text file documents are also possible such as a spreadsheet stored as comma separated values.
ConfigurationIt is most common to store configuration files as text. However, binary based configuration systems are also reasonably common. For example, some operating systems store configuration as binary that requires a specialized editor to access.
LibrariesA library file is a tool used by an executable file. For example, a library might provide software with network access.
DriversFiles that are used to operate a device. Drivers provide services to libraries and executables. For example, a video card driver provides services to a library for displaying a user interface.
Encryption & CompressionEncryption and compression typically produce binary files even when the input is text.
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