Disassembling is the process of translating an executable program
into its equivalent assembly representation.
The greatest problem in disassembling is determining what is
code (instructions) and what is data, as both are represented
in the same way in current machines.
Further, disassembling is equivalent to the Halting Problem and
hence cannot be fully automated for all input programs.
This page contains information about various commercial, shareware and
freeware disassemblers, and tools for building disassemblers.
IDA is a commercial program for disassembling a wide array of
different file types
for different processors,
written by Ilfak Guilfanov.
Binary file formats supported include: EXE, NE, LX, LE, PE, OMF and COFF.
IDA Pro has an excellent user interface, with an windowing system. It
can do automatic detection of data and code parts, and has auto-commenting
The best two commercial disassemblers available are IDA Pro and
As of IDA version 3.6, IDA now has
Fast Library Identification and Recognition Technology. This technology
allows IDA to recognize standard library functions generated by
various C compilers.
IDA now also supports advanced features, such as functions and structures.
As of version v3.76, IDA Pro supports the PowerPC, AMD K6-2
3DNow!, and Pentium II instruction sets. The binary file formats
XCOFF, AIAFF and PEF (BeOS and MacOS) are also now supported.
There is partial support for PalmPilot files. Delphi 3 FLIRT
library signatures have been added too.
Version 3.8 adds support for ARM and PowerPC ELF binaries, floating
point emulation instructions, and the Zilog Z-8, Intel 80196 and
Hitachi SH-3 processors.
Sourcer is a commercial program, for disassembling x86 binaries (EXE, NE
and PE); it costs $149.95.
Sourcer does a good job at automatically detecting code
and data fragments. More information can be found on their home page.
If Sourcer is used together with
Windows Source version 3 it produces lots and lots of additional
information. Windows Source can extract info from .SYM, Codeview or .DBG
files, and work is in progres on improving the Codeview support and
adding Turbo Debug Symbols.
MacNosy is a disassembler for Mac (68K and PowerPC) applications, resource
files or ROM.
ASM Trace is the disassembler by
Tels of ASM Edit.
The author wrote it because he was not happy with Sourcer.
He has discontinued work on ASM Trace a while ago.
A one-day trial version can be down-loaded. Full version costs $199.
XDASM: Universal Cross Disassembler
This is a commercial disassembler for a large number of 8/16 bit processors
(except anything higher than 386) which costs $249. This disassembler
uses processor description to do its work, which means you can add
your own processor descriptions.
Win32 Program Disassembler is a straight line disassembler
of Windows 32-bit executables (i.e. PE) by
Sang Cho from
South Korea. The program works in console mode (no graphical
interface) and uses the following command line option:
disassem yourfile.exe > yourfile.txt
Win32PD appears to understand switch statements as it does not
get tripped up by the pointers. It also decodes Win32 API
calls. No disassembly of the data section is done, but
string statements are emitted where appropriate.
This disassembler does not support symbols in PE files.
Borg by Cronos
Borg is a freeware disassembler for Windows 32-bit binaries
(PE executables and DLLs), written to overcome some of the
limitations of other Windows 9x disassemblers.
Borg provides a simple graphical interface with pull down
menus. All output is sent to a window, which can then
be saved onto an ascii file. Borg disassembles data and
recognizes strings. It does not recognize symbols and
does not recognize statically-linked library function calls
but supports dynamically-linked function names.
Borg v1.08 includes a new option of code flow analysis, which
allows it to generate better code and give hints of high-level
control structures such as while's, do's and if's (in comments).
His author, Paul Young (aka Cronos), implemented a simple yet
effective algorithms for structured programs. A list of
instructions that affect control flow is created and this
map is used to identify simple control structures (if's and
while's). This list is reduced, hence recognizing nested
control structures. Support for unstructured code (e.g.
a break within a loop) is not included yet.
Borg is downloadable from its web site (at the end of its page).
The current release is v1.09, which provides support for relocation
and is fully statically linked in.
disasm32 Visual Symbolic Disassembler
disasm32 is a visual symbolic disassembler for Windows95 and WindowsNT
32 bits Portables Executables (PE) (it runs under Windows95, WindowsNT or
This is a commercial product; the latest version is called VDasm32.exe
and it does a nice job (according to users of the software).
VDasm reads symbolic information in formats
codeview (before Visual C++ 2.0), Coff and SYM. (Symbolic information
is not required, for the program to work.)
Commercial version can also browse and extracts resources and show
anonyms exports for DLLs.
For more information, contact Jean-Louis Seigne by email or check his web site.
VXDasm Visual Disassembler for Windows95 VXD Device Drivers
VXDasm is a visual relocatable disassembler for Windows device drivers.
A demo version is downloadable from the VXDasm home page.
This program was also developed by Jean-Louis
WDASM 1.7b: Windows Disassembler Program
This is a shareware Windows program for disassembling Windows 3.1 programs,
written by Eric Grass.
It also includes a program called hilevel, which can transform the
assembler output in a structured assembler format, including definition
of procedures, local variables, and if-macro sections
(it is also mentioned in the
These Turbo C sources are written by Robin Hilliard
and are under the GNU license. As far as we know, no
automatic detection system for code and data is included.
obj2asm TC Source for intelligent .OBJ disassembler
This is not a disassembler of EXE or COM files, but of OBJ files,
which are sometimes distributed in LIB files, without the original
code. Because of the nature of the OBJ files, a far more accurate
disassembling can be done, with even some of the original names
of procedures and (global) variables. Sources are provided under
the GNU license. This is also from Robin Hilliard.
The current release of Unasource is v0.2b which is described
by its author, Francisco Javier Felix,
as a little disassembler for .com and .sys x86 binaries.
Unasource is a straight line disassembler for DOS binaries.
The long term goal for unasource is to be a full decompiler that
generates C, Cobol, Visual Basic and other source codes.
At present, it is a disassembler.
If you want to collaborate in this project, send an
email to Francisco Javier Felix.
maintains a page with programs for dumping the various TPU files, up
to and including version 7.0.
"Version 3.0 of DUMPPROG now is able to read Borland (Inprise) symbolic
information (also known as Turbo Debugger information) from
executables. If this is present, a much more comprehensive disassembly
listing can be obtained. As of version 3.0 DUMPPROG supports
disassembling Borland Delphi executables (PE format for 32 bit
Review by Stefan
Hoffmeister, who made the following readme file for version 3.00 available.
DUMPPROG version 2.1 online at
and information about version 3.0 is avaiable
tpu2asm.zip contains a disassembler for Turbo Pascal 5 units,
and twu1.zip contains a dumper/disassembler for TP6.0 or TPW 1.0 TPUs.
AMSGEN, version 2.01
AMSGEN is a disassembler written by J. Gersbach and J. Damke.
(Appears to be freeware.) It is automatic detection of code and
data, but extra information can be provided in a .SEQ file.
ASMGSQ is a .SEQ file generator.
The program has been throughly tested on correctness. A test
procedure is included in the distribution.
Bubble: A disassembler for COM or EXE programs
Is a disassembler program with automatic detection of code and
data fragments, but can also be used interactive.
DIS86, Version 2.29
This is more like a step-by-step debugger, with built in disassembler.
You can walk through the code, call subroutines, and return. It keeps
some track of the contents of the registers, but not much. You can add
your own labels. Does not have an automatic detection of code and data.
Written by James R. van Zandt.
The New Jersey Machine-Code (NJMC) Toolkit helps programmers write applications
that process machine code---assemblers,
disassemblers, code generators, tracers, profilers, and debuggers.
The NJMC Toolkit implements the
(Specification Language for Encoding and Decoding) language.
SLED specifications for the MIPS, SPARC, Pentium, Alpha and PowerPC have
Take a look at a plain vanilla
nm prints the name list (symbol table) of each object
filename in the argument list. If an argument is an
archive, a listing for each object file in the archive will
be produced. If no filename is given, the symbols in a.out
Back to decompilation page
Copyright © 1998
The University of Queensland,
All Rights Reserved.