What is a self-extracting archive and self-extractor?
Self-extracting archive is an executable file (.exe) which contains whole ZIP archive file (from which it was created) and software to extract (unpack) the archive. The software is called self-extractor.
What is the self-extracting archive useful for?
User can extract files from a self-extracting archive without need of any other software (ZIP unpacker) or knowing how to use a separate unzip utility. Thus self-extracting archives are particularly suited for distribution of software to beginning users who are not familiar with the concept of ZIP files. Or you can use it when transporting ZIP archive to computer where you are not sure that needed ZIP software is installed.
Can I use it to support my installation software?
Using Altap Self-Extractor and its many options, you can compress your installation software. After the installer is extracted, Altap Self-Extractor automatically starts the installation or executes any other command you have specified.
Altap Self-Extractor Description
Altap Self-Extractor is small application (it runs on Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000) that displays a dialog box when it is running. This dialog box makes it easy for the user to change the target ("extract to") directory before unzipping the files in the self-extracting file. Optionally, you can tell to hide the dialog box, when creating the self-extracting archive. There are many configurable options, see below.
- ZIP format compatibility, including older ZIP formats.
- Extracting also encrypted files.
- Spanned (multi-volume) self-extracting archives support.
- Multiple language self-extractors.
- Ability to start self-extracting archive with administrative privileges on Windows Vista (this will trigger UAC). It allows unpacking files also into write-protected folders (e.g. Program Files).
- Custom title and text in the main self-extractor dialog.
- Option to display a message box with user defined text when self-extractor starts.
- Option to display a special message box for long messages (e.g. license agreements).
- Custom icon in self-extractor dialog and the executable file.
- Custom text of the "extract" button.
- Altap Self-Extractor could start program, open document or http link when an extraction is finished.
- Ability to run standard .inf files as an alternative to setup programs.
- Remove files extracted in a temporary folder when started program is finished.
- Remove files in a temporary folder even if the install program involves a reboot.
- Ability to wait for another program than launched one before temporary files are removed.
- Option to specify as target directory the current directory, temporary directory, 'Program Files', 'Windows', 'System' or directory specified by any environment variable or registry entry.
- Option to specify a subdirectory to create in the target directory when extracting self-extracting archive.
- Options to start extraction automatically, to hide main Altap Self-Extractor dialog, to suppress summary message box and to automatically overwrite files in the target directory.
- Easy and user friendly environment for creating self-extracting archives in Altap Salamander using ZIP plugin.
- Creating self-extracting archives from also command line (see Zip2Sfx).
The Altap Self-Extractor executable is packed in a compact sfx package (file, usually with extension .sfx) with the language dependent data (like texts in the main dialog, etc.). For each supported language there is a one standalone sfx package. Sfx packages are distributed with ZIP plugin and Zip2Sfx.
How can I get Altap Self-Extractor?
Altap Self-Extractor is distributed with Altap Salamander, together with a command line tool Zip2Sfx. Altap Salamander is available on Downloads page.
Difference between licensed and unlicensed version
Unlicensed version of Altap Self-Extractor may be used only for evaluation purposes in trial period of 30 days. It has all functions and features of licensed version. For unlimited creating and using of these self-extracting archives, you must obtain a license of Altap Self-Extractor.
Altap Self-Extractor FAQ
Q: Can I customize the ALTAP Self-Extractor dialog box?
A: Yes, ZIP Plugin a Zip2Sfx provide you options for customizing the dialog box. You can set dialog box title, text in the dialog box and the text of the button which starts the extraction. You can also add custom icon in the dialog box.
Q: Is possible to change 'extract to' folder when running self-extracting archive even if the archive was created with an option disabling change of 'extract to' folder or with an option causing automatic start of extraction?
A: Yes. User can run self-extracting archive with command line option '-s' which cause 'safe' start of self-extracting archive. It overrides above mentioned options, displays main self-extractor dialog box (even if the archive was created with option suppressing displaying of the main dialog box) and let user to select 'extract to' folder by himself.
Q: What is sfx package?
A: Sfx package is file, usually with extension .sfx. It contains ALTAP Self-Extractor executable and language dependent data, like the text in the main dialog. Data from sfx package are used when creating self-extracting archive.
Q: Where are stored sfx packages?
A: Sfx packages distributed with Zip2Sfx are stored in the same directory as Zip2Sfx. Sfx packages distributed with ZIP plugin for Servant Salamander are stored in the directory "C:\Program Files\Salamand\Plugins\Zip\Sfx".
Q: Is any difference between Sfx packages distributed with Zip2Sfx and ZIP Plugin?
A: No. Format of the packages is identical. You can use the same package in booth programs.
Q: Will be ALTAP Self-Extractor available in other languages (not only in English and Czech)?
A: Yes. We plan to support also other languages in ALTAP Self-Extractor.
What is Zip2Sfx?
Zip2Sfx is a command line tool which converts a ZIP archive to the self-extracting archive using Altap Self-Extractor. Zip2Sfx is distributed with Altap Salamander and is available on Downloads page.
Zip2Sfx combines the features of ZIP plugin for creation of self-extracting archives with the advantages of a command line application. Thus could be easily included in the batch scripts you use to create your installation software. Zip2Sfx is fully functional and standalone program and can be used without need of Altap Salamander and ZIP plugin.
Q: Do I need to create environment variable SFX_DEFPACKAGE?
A: No, it's not necessary. This variable is used only if you do not specify which sfx package to use when creating self-extracting archive. To specify sfx package you can use either switch '-p' or add something like: sfxpackage="english.sfx" in your settings file you use with zip2sfx.
Q: Can I use advanced self-extractor options like in the ZIP Plugin?
A: Yes. You can specify all these options in the settings file, setting advanced options directly from command line is not possible. Use switch '-s' to tell which settings file to use. For details on settings file format see 'sample.set' file distributed with Zip2Sfx.
Q: Can I use a settings file exported from ZIP Plugin also in Zip2Sfx?
A: Yes. Zip2Sfx use the same format of the settings files.