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When I use netrw with the :Explore command I see that binary/executable files are highlighted in orange and have a little * start next to them, so I guess it can recognize them without having to rely on their extension.

How do I make netrw ignore executables files by default when it shows me the list of files in the current directory ?

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netrw supports hiding entries in the list by allowing you to set a regular expression hiding list.

Slightly surprisingly, the pattern you set here is matched against the entire displayed entry which includes the * star you mention (rather than the actual file name), so you can set up an expression to look for entries that end with *:

let g:netrw_list_hide = '\*$'

With this in your .vimrc, vim should enter the hiding mode by default and will then display this in its banner:

"   Hiding:        \*$

You can press a to rotate through the three hiding modes: "show all", "show non-hidden", and "show hidden".

The simple expression above gets you 75% of the way there, matching executables in 3 out of netrw's 4 listing styles. However, the long listing includes even more information after the file's name, so something more complicated is required. A quick hack that is likely to work for almost all file names is to search for either the end of the line or for two spaces after the *:

let g:netrw_list_hide = '\*\($\|\s\s\)'

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