How to Decompile EX4 Files to MQ4 Format
EX4 files are executable files that contain compiled source code of expert advisors (EA), technical indicators and scripts for the MetaTrader 4 trading platform. MQ4 files are the source code files that can be edited and modified by MetaEditor, the built-in code editor of MetaTrader 4. If you want to view or modify the source code of an EX4 file, you need to decompile it to MQ4 format first. However, decompiling EX4 files is not a simple or straightforward process. In this article, we will explain why decompiling EX4 files is difficult, what are the possible ways to do it, and what are the risks and benefits of doing so.
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Why Decompiling EX4 Files is Difficult
The difficulty of decompiling EX4 files depends on the version of MetaTrader 4 that was used to compile them. In MetaTrader 4 up to build 509, the source code in MQL4 (the programming language of MetaTrader 4) was compiled into so-called byte code. This is similar to the way the Java Virtual Machine or the modern .NET Framework compiler works. Programs compiled in this way can be unambiguously mapped to source code with a few exceptions (variable and function names, comments). This is exactly what a decompiler does: it converts byte code back to source code.
However, in February 2014, build 600 of MetaTrader 4 trading terminal was released, where the concept of executable code generation was radically changed. From now on, the source code is compiled directly into binary code, just like C++ compiler generates .exe files. This makes decompiling much more difficult, as binary code is not easily readable by humans and can have many possible interpretations. Moreover, binary code can be obfuscated or encrypted by the developer to protect their intellectual property and prevent reverse engineering. Therefore, decompiling EX4 files created by MetaTrader 4 build 600 or newer is practically impossible in most cases.
How to Decompile EX4 Files
There are two main ways to decompile EX4 files: using a software tool or using an online service.
Using a Software Tool
A software tool is a program that you can download and install on your computer to decompile EX4 files. The most popular software tool for decompiling EX4 files is called EX4 Decompiler, created by the purebeam.biz team in 2009. The latest version of this tool is number 4.0.427.4 and was introduced in January 2014. This tool can decompile EX4 files created by MetaTrader 4 up to build 509 into MQ4 format. However, it cannot decompile EX4 files created by MetaTrader 4 build 600 or newer.
To use this tool, you need to follow these steps:
Download the tool from [this link] and unzip it.
Run the tool and select the EX4 file you want to decompile.
Click on "Decompile" button and wait for the process to finish.
The MQ4 file will be generated in the same folder as the EX4 file.
Note that this tool is not free and requires a license key to work. You can buy a license key from [this website] for $99 per month or $999 per year.
Using an Online Service
An online service is a website that offers decompiling services for EX4 files. You can upload your EX4 file to the website and get the MQ4 file back after paying a fee. The most famous online service for decompiling EX4 files is called EX4toMQ4.pro. This service has been working since 2005 and has huge experience in restoring source code of EX4 files. However, not every file can be decompiled by this service. According to their website, they can decompile about 85% of EX4 files.
To use this service, you need to follow these steps:
Go to [their website] and fill in the form with your name, email and EX4 file.
Wait for their reply with the price and payment details.
Pay the fee using one of the available methods (PayPal, Bitcoin, etc.).
Receive the MQ4 file by email within 24 hours.
Note that this service is not cheap and the price depends on the complexity and size of the EX4 file. The average price is about $200 per file.
Risks and Benefits of Decompiling EX4 Files
Decompiling EX4 files can have some risks and benefits, depending on your purpose and perspective. Here are some of them:
Decompiling EX4 files can be illegal in some countries, as it can violate the intellectual property rights of the developer. You should always respect the developer's wishes and not decompile their files without their permission.
Decompiling EX4 files can be unethical, as it can harm the developer's reputation and income. You should not use decompiled files to copy, modify or sell their work without their consent.
Decompiling EX4 files can be dangerous, as it can expose you to malware or viruses. You should not trust any software tool or online service that claims to decompile EX4 files, as they can be scams or contain malicious code. You should always scan the files with a reliable antivirus program before opening them.
Decompiling EX4 files can be educational, as it can help you learn how the code works and improve your programming skills. You should only use decompiled files for personal use and not share them with others.
Decompiling EX4 files can be helpful, as it can allow you to fix bugs or errors in the code. You should only use decompiled files to improve the performance and functionality of the original file and not change its logic or purpose.
Decompiling EX4 files can be necessary, as it can enable you to recover lost or corrupted source code. You should only use decompiled files to restore your own work and not claim it as someone else's.
Decompiling EX4 files to MQ4 format is a complex and controversial process that requires special tools or services. It can have some risks and benefits depending on your intention and situation. You should always be careful and respectful when dealing with EX4 files and their developers.