.BIN File Extension

File Type 1

Generic Binary File

Developer N/A
Popularity
4.0  |  1743 Votes
Category Data Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a data file that stores data entirely or partially in binary format. The .bin extension is used by various applications for multiple types of files. Examples include saved data files, disk images, resource libraries, and firmware updates.

More Information
Hexadecimal and character data from a BIN file displayed in File Viewer Plus 4
Hexadecimal and character data from a BIN file displayed in File Viewer Plus 4

BIN files differ from text-based files, which are human-readable and can be edited with a text editor. Binary data is not human-readable and typically cannot be edited.

While most BIN files store data entirely in binary format, some BIN files also contain text information. For example, a BIN file storing saved game data in binary format may include a header with a plain text string that describes the game version and when the game last modified the file.

How to open a BIN file

Since various applications use BIN files for multiple purposes, you may be able to open some BIN files but not others. For example, some apps allow you to save and load BIN files, while others reference them when the app is running.

In the case of BIN firmware files, you can use the related app or device's firmware update interface to load them as part of the app or device's firmware update process.

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Programs that open BIN files

All Platforms
Open with the associated program or device
Updated May 31, 2022
File Type 2

Sega Genesis Game ROM

Developer N/A
Popularity
4.2  |  991 Votes
Category Game Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a ROM image of a Sega Genesis video game. It contains the complete data of a Sega Genesis game dumped from a game cartridge. Retro gamers use BIN files to store games that they can load and play with a Sega Genesis emulation program on a computer.

More Information
Screenshot of a .bin file in DGen 1
BIN file open in DGen 1

Gaming enthusiasts utilize emulation software to play games on their computers without the actual gaming console. For example, nostalgic gamers who enjoyed the Sega Genesis console in the 1990s used emulation software, such as Kega Fusion, Genesis Plus, and HazeMD, to emulate Sega Genesis game ROMs.

To get the game ROMs from Sega Genesis games into a format they can play on their computer, gamers dump game ROM data from game cartridges onto their computer and save the ROM data in individual BIN files to load with an emulator. While gamers often save the files in the BIN format with the .bin extension, they may also save them in different formats with different extensions, such as Sega Mega Drive ROM (.SMD file) and Sega Genesis ROM (.GEN file).

How to open a BIN file

You can open a Sega Genesis Game ROM BIN file with various Sega Genesis emulators. Some possible options include:

  • Kega Fusion (multiplatform)
  • Gens+ (Windows)
  • DGen (Windows)
  • MD.emu (Android)

Programs that open or reference BIN files

Android
Windows
Free
Free
Free
Free
Mac
Linux
Updated May 26, 2022
File Type 3

Unix Executable File

Developer N/A
Popularity
4.1  |  339 Votes
Category Executable Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is an executable file that a user can run on a Unix operating system, such as Linux or FreeBSD. It typically stores a program consisting of binary code compiled from source code. Unix Executable BIN files are similar to Windows .EXE files and macOS .APP files.

More Information

BIN is one of several file types software developers use to package and deliver programs for Unix operating systems. Other Unix executable types include .ELF, .X86, .RUN, and .X86_64.

Each BIN file contains data that the Unix system uses to recognize, read, and run the program the file contains. BIN files may also come packaged with an INSTALL.TXT file that documents how to install the BIN file.

How to open a BIN file

BIN files are not meant to be opened. Instead, you can run the programs they contain. To run a BIN file, type the following commands on the command line (the name of the BIN file is example):

$ chmod +x example.bin
$ ./example.bin

Warning

BIN files are typically legitimate applications, but cybercriminals may use them to distribute and execute malware attacks. To protect against malicious executable attacks, do not run a BIN file you have downloaded from the Internet or received via email unless you trust the file's source.

Programs that open BIN files

Linux
Run from the command line
Updated June 30, 2022
File Type 4

Binary Disc Image

Developer N/A
Popularity
4.0  |  205 Votes
Category Disk Image Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a disk image copied from an optical disc, such as a DVD or CD. It stores raw binary data in a format similar to the standard .ISO disc image format. Various disk utilities can mount the BIN disk image the same as if it was stored on its original physical disc.

More Information

BIN files were common in the 2000s when computer users would rip data from CDs and DVDs. These users would insert the disc in an optical drive connected to their computer and rip the contents of the disc as a BIN file to their computer. Users would also burn BIN files to optical discs to make copies of discs with various utilities, such as Roxio Creator and Toast.

BIN files store an exact copy of the disc's contents, including its directory structure and metadata files that describe the disc contents. For example, .CUE files that describe the ordering of data in a binary image often accompany BIN files.

NOTE: As computer access and Internet speeds increased, computer users began to transfer content online, making optical discs rarer and BIN files less common.

How to open a BIN file

You can mount and open a BIN file with various disk utilities, such as Roxio Creator (Windows), Roxio Toast (macOS), and PowerISO (Windows). You can also use these applications to burn BIN files to CD and DVD discs.

How to convert a BIN file

Several disk utilities, including WinBin2Iso and PowerISO, can convert BIN files to other formats. For example, to convert a BIN file to an ISO file with WinBin2Iso, select "Bin2Iso" choose your BIN file as the "Source," name the "Target" ISO file, and click Convert.

Programs that open BIN files

Updated June 30, 2022
File Type 5

MacBinary Encoded File

Developer Dennis Brothers, Harry Chesley, & Yves Lempereur
Popularity
4.0  |  216 Votes
Category Encoded Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a compressed file saved in the MacBinary format that stores a finder header, data fork, and resource fork. It ensures the Macintosh Hierarchical File System (HFS) resource fork and data fork are both kept in one file when transferring Macintosh files via the Internet, email, FTP, or portable media. As Apple has improved upon the limitations of its HFS, BIN files are rarely used.

More Information

Before Mac OS X, Macintosh computers running the Classic Mac OS in the 1980s and 1990s stored files in two separate "forks" because of data limitations. The "resource fork" stored the structured data for the file, and the "data fork" stored the unstructured data.

The Classic Mac OS handled the two separate forks as a single file, but when transferring files to another computer, the non-Mac system would not treat the two forks as a single file, which led to lost data. To prevent this from happening, the Dennis Brothers, Harry Chesley, Yves Lempereur, and others developed the MacBinary format to combine the two forks in a compressed archive.

When transferring a file to a non-Mac system, the two forks would be encoded in the MacBinary format as one BIN file. Then, the forks would be split apart when transferred back to the Mac OS.

As Apple moved away from the fork-based HFS in the 2000s, the MacBinary format became seldomly used. Now, you will most likely not encounter a MacBinary Encoded BIN file unless you find an old BIN file on a non-Mac or download an old BIN file from the Internet.

NOTE: BIN files may also be saved with the .macbin extension (.MACBIN files).

Different versions of the MacBinary format

Over the years, the developers released various versions of the MacBinary format to accommodate changes in the Mac file system:

  • MacBinary - Released in 1985
  • MacBinary II - Released in 1987
  • MacBinary III - Released in 1996

How to open a BIN file

You can open a MacBinary Encoded BIN file with various compression utilities, including Apple Archive Utility (macOS), Smith Micro StuffIt Deluxe (Windows), and The Unarchiver (macOS).

If you cannot open a BIN file with one of the aforementioned utilities, the file may be saved in a different format since many formats use the .bin file extension.

Programs that open BIN files

Updated June 30, 2022
File Type 6

PSX PlayStation BIOS Image

Developer Sony
Popularity
4.1  |  129 Votes
Category Game Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a BIOS file used by PCSX and other variants of PlayStation emulation software. It contains an image of the PlayStation BIOS, enabling the emulator to replicate the game console's functionality and run games the same way the PlayStation console runs them.

More Information

The PSX BIOS image comes from the PSX digital video recorder (DVR), which is a home electronic device that allows users to record digital video and play PlayStation 1 (PS1) and PlayStation 2 (PS2) video games. The device includes a BIOS image required to play PS1 and PS2 games. PS emulators like PCSX also require the BIOS image to play games.

If an emulator does not come with a BIOS image, gamers need to add a BIN file to the emulator to successfully run the software. Users may dump the BIOS from the actual console onto a computer, but gamers typically download a BIN file containing the appropriate BIOS image for the emulator from a gaming website. The BIN file is often compressed in a .ZIP archive that the user must decompress with a compression utility, such as Windows File Explorer, Apple Archive Utility, or Corel WinZip.

Common BIN Filenames

scph1001.bin - Common name of the BIN file that stores the BIOS used by PlayStation emulation software.

How to open a BIN file

You can open a BIN file with various PlayStation emulators, including PCSX, PCSX2, ePSXe, pSX emulator, and PCSX-Reloaded. Each emulator requires different steps for opening the file and installing the BIOS image.

For example, to install the BIOS in a BIN file in pSX emulator:

  1. Move the BIN file to the Documents\pSX[version]\bios directory.
  2. Select File → Configuration.
  3. Click the "BIOS" tab.
  4. Select the ... button, navigate to your BIN file, and click Open.

Programs that open or reference BIN files

Android
Free
Windows
Mac
Linux
Free
Free
iOS
Updated June 16, 2022
File Type 7

BlackBerry IT Policy File

Developer Research in Motion
Popularity
3.9  |  163 Votes
Category Settings Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a configuration file IT system administrators distribute to deploy administrative updates to BlackBerry Desktop Software and the BlackBerry Wireless Handheld devices. Administrators utilize IT Policy Manager, a program included with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, to create BIN files and typically name them policy.bin.

More Information

Typically, only company IT system administrators use IT Policy Manager to create and distribute the BIN files. The administrators oversee the deployment of BIN files and may save them to users' desktops or other locations on their computers.

NOTE: The deployment of BIN files was common in the 2000s, but has since been replaced by more advanced and secure administrative configuration distribution methods.

Common BIN Filenames

policy.bin - Default name given to BlackBerry IT Policy BIN files.

How to open a BIN file

You can open a BlackBerry IT Policy BIN file with BlackBerry Desktop Manager software. When you open BlackBerry Desktop Manager, the software searches for the policy.bin file to make any policy changes to the software and any connected BlackBerry devices. The location of the file is specified in the Windows registry with the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Research In Motion\BlackBerry\Policy Manager\Path.

If this key doesn't exist, the software searches the C:\Program Files\Research In Motion\BlackBerry\ directory instead.

Programs that open or reference BIN files

Updated May 24, 2022
File Type 8

Nintendo DS Binary File

Developer N/A
Popularity
4.0  |  107 Votes
Category Game Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a binary file used by the Nintendo DS series portable gaming system. It contains executable data for a Nintendo DS game that gamers utilize to patch (or modify) Nintendo games for DS emulators.

More Information

Most gamers emulating a Nintendo DS game will not encounter a Nintendo DS Binary file unless they are attempting to modify an aspect of a game. For example, game modders looking to adjust the color of spray paint available in Kirby: Squeak Squad may extract a spray.bin file from an .NDS Nintendo DS Game ROM file.

NOTE: Since many file types use the .bin extension, it may be difficult to identify the format in which the BIN file is saved. However, the name of the BIN file and the folder that stores the file will help indicate the information it contains. Additionally, programs that support one type of BIN file will most likely not support other BIN file types.

How to open a BIN file

BIN files are not meant to be opened. Instead, the Nintendo DS emulator, such as NO$GBA or DeSmuME, references the BIN file to load gameplay elements.

However, gamers may attempt to modify BIN files with specialized utilities or hexadecimal (hex) editors.

Programs that open BIN files

Windows
Free
Mac
Linux
Updated June 16, 2022
File Type 9

Router Firmware File

Developer N/A
Popularity
4.0  |  105 Votes
Category System Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a firmware file used by various routers manufactured by brands, such as Linksys, D-Link, and Belkin. It contains low-level system data that runs the device, which may include security or technological updates. Users typically download BIN files from router product support pages to upgrade their router firmware.

More Information
Screenshot of a .bin file in Linksys X2000 Connect Setup 2
BIN file open in Linksys X2000 Connect Setup 2

The primary purpose of updating router firmware is to keep the security features up to date. Depending on the router you own, you may need to update its firmware by installing a BIN file from the router developer.

For example, if you own a Linksys X2000 router and need to update the firmware, you can go to the Linksys Support page and type your router model ("X2000" in this case) in the search field. The site will return the necessary firmware and software options you can download to update the router.

How to open a BIN file

Router Firmware BIN files are not meant to be opened. Instead, they are meant to be installed via the router's user interface. For example, many Linksys routers have a browser-based program that includes an Administration tab with a "Firmware Upgrade" option that is used to load the BIN file. To get specific instructions for upgrading your router's firmware, consult the manufacturer's documentation.

Programs that open or reference BIN files

All Platforms
Various router software
Updated May 27, 2022
File Type 10

Atari 2600 Game ROM

Developer N/A
Popularity
3.8  |  95 Votes
Category Game Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is an Atari 2600 video game ROM image. It contains an exact copy of the original game dumped from the game cartridge. Retro gamers use BIN files to store games that they can load and play with an Atari emulation application on a computer.

More Information

Atari launched the Atari Video Computer System (Atari VCS) in 1977, then rebranded it as Atari 2600 in 1982. It came with controllers and a game cartridge, originally Combat, which was later replaced by Pac-Man. Other games for the console include Space Invaders, River Raid, Frogger, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Atari gaming enthusiasts who want to re-live the experience of the 2600 console utilize emulation software to play games on their computers without the actual gaming console. For example, gamers who enjoyed the Atari 2600 console in the 1970s and 80s dump game ROM data from Atari 2600 game cartridges onto their computer and save them as individual BIN files, or .A26 files, to load and play with an emulator.

Some gamers that dump game ROM data to BIN files compress them in .ZIP archives to reduce their size. Then, they upload them online to share with other Atari 2600 gaming enthusiasts who can extract the BIN files from the Zip archives with decompression software, such as Windows File Explorer or Apple Archive Utility.

How to open a BIN file

You can open an Atari 2600 Game ROM BIN file with several Atari emulators, including Stella (multiplatform), PCAE (Windows), BizHawk (Windows and Linux), and z26 (Windows and Linux).

Programs that open or reference BIN files

Windows
Free
Free
Free
Mac
Free
Linux
Free
Free
Updated May 24, 2022
File Type 11

Nintendo Wii Data File

Developer Nintendo
Popularity
3.9  |  39 Votes
Category Data Files
Format Text and Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a data file created by the Nintendo Wii, a video game console. It contains information about a Wii channel or saved game. BIN files store some information in plain text, but the majority of the file's information is stored in an encrypted format that can be read only by a Wii.

More Information

Nintendo Wii BIN files are saved to the following location on an SD card inserted in the Wii's front SD slot:

F:/​private/​wii/​title/​xxxx/​

The xxxx is the four-character abbreviation of the game or Wii channel for which the file contains data.

Common BIN Filenames

content.bin - Name of the BIN file used by Nintendo Wii devices to store information about a Wii channel on an SD card.

data.bin - Name of the BIN file used by Nintendo Wii devices to store information about a saved game on an SD card.

How to open a BIN file

There is no known PC program that can open Nintendo Wii data BIN files. However, BIN files can be opened on the Wii that was used to copy the files to an SD card, and some BIN files can be opened by the third-party BootMii Wii backup program.

Programs that open BIN files

Windows
No known program
Mac
No known program
Linux
No known program
Updated June 2, 2021
File Type 12

GOG.com Game Data File

Developer GOG.com
Popularity
3.8  |  14 Votes
Category Game Files
Format Binary

What is a BIN file?

A BIN file is a game data file packaged with a game downloaded from GOG.com, an online video game distribution platform. It contains binary game data that an associated setup.exe file references to install a video game. Users should not open BIN files and cannot install a game with only a BIN file.

More Information

When a gamer downloads a game they purchased from GOG.com, the download package includes a setup.exe file and one or more BIN files. Each BIN file contains game data that the game installer references to install the game. A large game's download package may include several BIN files to break the game's data into smaller pieces and avoid download size restrictions that some Internet browsers use to prevent users from downloading large files.

If you are having trouble installing a game that you downloaded from GOG.com, you may be missing either the game's setup.exe file or one of its BIN files. Before attempting to install the game again, re-download the game's setup.exe file and BIN files from GOG.com, make sure the files are all located in the same folder, and then double-click the setup.exe file to begin installing the game.

How to open a BIN file

GOG.com BIN files are not meant to be opened. To use a BIN file to install a GOG.com video game, first, make sure each of the game's BIN files and its setup.exe file are located in the same folder. Then, double-click the setup.exe file to install your game.

Programs that open or reference BIN files

Windows
Not meant to be opened
Mac
Not meant to be opened
Linux
Not meant to be opened
Updated May 24, 2022

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