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What is a Self-Extracting Zip File?

Article ID: 179
Last updated: 22 May, 2012
Views: 139490

A self-extracting Zip file is an executable file (.exe) that contains a Zip file and a small program to extract (unzip) the contents of the Zip file. Users can run (execute) a self-extracting Zip file just as they run any other program: just double click on the .exe file.

WinZip offers two versions of our Self-Extractor program. WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition, which is included within WinZip, and WinZip Self-Extractor which is sold separately. For information on the differences between WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition and the full WinZip Self-Extractor please click here.


What are the Advantages to Self-Extracting Zip Files?

  • Self-extracting Zip files are ideal for electronic file distribution because they:
    • Optionally run a setup or installation program, which may be included by the developer when the files are decompressed
    • Provide easy distribution of one or more compressed files
    • Include sensitive information protected with 128- and 256-bit AES encryption
    • Create smaller files with LZMA, JPEG, PPMd, WavPack and Enhanced Deflate compressed Zip files (.zip or .zipx). (Note: LZMA, Jpeg, WavPack and .zipx support available in WinZip Self-Extractor 4.0 or later)
    • Designate custom high resolution icons for your Zip file (Note: Windows 7 and Windows Vista icon support available in WinZip Self-Extractor 3.1 or later)
    • Can contain multiple compressed files, minimizing download time and ensuring that important files do not become separated from the rest of the package
    • Allow the receiver to use a familiar Windows interface to extract (unzip) files, without owning or knowing how to use a separate unzip utility, making them ideal for inexperienced users
  • Any folder information in the Zip file is automatically restored, including empty folders
  • When a self-extracting Zip file created by WinZip Self-Extractor is run, a dialog box is displayed. This dialog box makes it easy for the user to change the Unzip To folder and other options before extracting the files.

If you have any questions about this information please email Technical Support.

Related Articles:
Differences: WinZip Self-Extractor and the Personal Edition
Where to download WinZip Self-Extractor
What are the requirements for WinZip Self-Extractor 4.0?

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