ELF file icon

ELF File Extension

ELF Executable Format
  • Developer
    Unix System Laboratories
  • Category
  • Popularity
    3.3 (29 votes)

What is ELF file?

Files with .ELF extension store system data, chiefly for Unix and Unix-based systems. ELF is a binary executable file. ELF files implement the Executable and Linkable Format standard, also known as Extensible Linking Format. The standard was publicly released along with the Application Binary Interface (ABI) specification.

ELF files can store such data as:

  • Executable files for applications and tools, typically with .BIN extension,
  • Compiled objects, typically with .O extension,
  • Shared objects (libraries) – files with .SO extension,
  • Memory dumps

ELF format was developed as flexible, extensible, and multiplatform standard that can be adopted for any operating systems or hardware platform. ELF store data using well-defined structure, where each file starts with a header followed by data section and references. References are stored in two tables: program headers and section headers. ELF header contains all necessary information regarding type of data stored in the file and how they should be accesses and interpreted.

Although ELF standard was developed with Unix systems in mind, it was quickly adopted to other systems, such as game consoles (for example, Wii, PlayStation, PowerPC), and some mobile systems. Contents of ELF are not human-readable, and such file should not be opened with text editors or other programs and applications that don’t support this format.

Programs which support ELF file extension

Below you will find an index of software programs that can be used to open ELF files divided into 3 categories according to system platform supported. ELF files can be encountered on all system platforms, including mobile, yet there is no guarantee each will properly support such files.

Programs that support ELF file

Updated: 10/25/2021

How to open file with ELF extension?

There can be multiple causes why you have problems with opening ELF files on given system. What is important, all common issues related to files with ELF extension can be resolved by the users themselves. The process is quick and doesn’t involve an IT expert. The list below will guide you through the process of addressing the encountered problem.

Step 1. Get the Dolphin

Install software to open ELF file The main and most frequent cause precluding users form opening ELF files is that no program that can handle ELF files is installed on user’s system. The most obvious solution is to download and install Dolphin or one to the listed programs: NetBSD, NeutrinoSX2, PS2emu. The full list of programs grouped by operating systems can be found above. The safest method of downloading Dolphin installed is by going to developer’s website (Dolphin Team) and downloading the software using provided links.

Step 2. Check the version of Dolphin and update if needed

Update software that support file extension ELFIf you already have Dolphin installed on your systems and ELF files are still not opened properly, check if you have the latest version of the software. Software developers may implement support for more modern file formats in updated versions of their products. The reason that Dolphin cannot handle files with ELF may be that the software is outdated. All of the file formats that were handled just fine by the previous versions of given program should be also possible to open using Dolphin.

Step 3. Assign Dolphin to ELF files

If you have the latest version of Dolphin installed and the problem persists, select it as the default program to be used to manage ELF on your device. The next step should pose no problems. The procedure is straightforward and largely system-independent

Associate software with ELF file on Windows

The procedure to change the default program in Windows

  • Right-click the ELF file and choose Open with option
  • Next, select the Choose another app option and then using More apps open the list of available applications
  • To finalize the process, select Look for another app on this PC entry and using the file explorer select the Dolphin installation folder. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open ELF files box and clicking OK button.
Associate software with ELF file on Mac

The procedure to change the default program in Mac OS

  • From the drop-down menu, accessed by clicking the file with ELF extension, select Information
  • Open the Open with section by clicking its name
  • Select the appropriate software and save your settings by clicking Change all
  • Finally, a This change will be applied to all files with ELF extension message should pop-up. Click Continue button in order to confirm your choice.

Step 4. Ensure that the ELF file is complete and free of errors

You closely followed the steps listed in points 1-3, but the problem is still present? You should check whether the file is a proper ELF file. Problems with opening the file may arise due to various reasons.

Check ELF file for viruses
1. The ELF may be infected with malware – make sure to scan it with an antivirus tool.

Should it happed that the ELF is infected with a virus, this may be that cause that prevents you from accessing it. Immediately scan the file using an antivirus tool or scan the whole system to ensure the whole system is safe. If the scanner detected that the ELF file is unsafe, proceed as instructed by the antivirus program to neutralize the threat.

2. Verify that the ELF file’s structure is intact

If you obtained the problematic ELF file from a third party, ask them to supply you with another copy. It is possible that the file has not been properly copied to a data storage and is incomplete and therefore cannot be opened. When downloading the file with ELF extension from the internet an error may occurred resulting in incomplete file. Try downloading the file again.

3. Ensure that you have appropriate access rights

There is a possibility that the file in question can only be accessed by users with sufficient system privileges. Switch to an account that has required privileges and try opening the ELF Executable Format file again.

4. Check whether your system can handle Dolphin

The operating systems may note enough free resources to run the application that support ELF files. Close all running programs and try opening the ELF file.

5. Check if you have the latest updates to the operating system and drivers

Up-to-date system and drivers not only makes your computer more secure, but also may solve problems with ELF Executable Format file. It is possible that one of the available system or driver updates may solve the problems with ELF files affecting older versions of given software.

Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the ELF file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on ELF file.

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