WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition

WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition

WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition is a separate and complete application included with WinZip at no extra cost to licensed users (under the terms of the WinZip License Agreement). The Personal Edition is a simplified version of our full-featured, separately licensed product, WinZip Self-Extractor, and can be used to create standard self-extracting Zip files.

A self-extracting Zip file is an executable program (.EXE file) that includes a Zip file and software to extract or unzip the contents of the Zip file.

Users can extract files from a self-extracting Zip file by double clicking it, with no additional program needed. This makes self-extracting Zip files a particularly good choice for distributing data to beginning users who are not familiar with using Zip files or Zip file utilities. Please make sure that you review the list of features available in the full WinZip Self-Extractor product that are not available in the Personal Edition.

To start WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition, create a Legacy Zip file with WinZip (Note: WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition does not support creating self-extractors from Zipx files). Then, while the Zip file is still open, click the Tools tab and click Self-Extracting EXE. Unless you have specified a different program in the Program to create self-extracting Zip files (Make Exe) field in the Advanced tab of WinZip Options, the WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition dialog box will be displayed.

Make .EXE Dialog

The WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition dialog box contains the following fields:

  • The name of the standard (not self-extracting) Zip file to turn into a self-extracting Zip file.
  • The default target folder for the unzip operation. If left blank the folder specified by the user's TEMP= environment variable is used.
  • Spanning support, originally included to allow a self-extracting Zip file to span diskettes when necessary. This process continues to function with diskettes and other forms of removable media. Please note that self-extracting Zip files are executable files and that an executable file larger than 2 gigabytes cannot be created (a Windows restriction).

When you span a self-extracting Zip file using WinZip Self-Extractor, no special software is required during extraction. Your users will simply be prompted to insert the next diskette or other removable media in the multiple volume set at the appropriate time during extraction. The following choices determine whether you want to make use of the spanning feature with your removable media, and which method to use.

  • No Spanning - WinZip will not create a .EXE that spans removable disks.
  • Safe spanning method - Selecting the Safe method causes WinZip Self-Extractor to put two files onto the first volume: a .ZIP file with the first portion of your compressed data, and a small .EXE file with the executable code that is required to extract your data. The second and subsequent volumes contain .ZIP files with the remaining portions of your compressed data. Safe method is the default and recommended method.
  • Old spanning method - In contrast, the Old spanning method puts a .EXE file on the first volume that contains both the executable code used to extract the compressed data and the first portion of that data. The second and subsequent volumes contain the remaining portions of your compressed data, in files that (even though they don't actually contain any executable code) have an extension of EXE. This is potentially dangerous because, if a user inadvertently tries to run the EXE file on the second or succeeding volumes, random error messages, and even system hangs, can occur.

The last choice in the self-extracting Zip file's dialog box is the Overwrite by default option, which controls whether or not users are prompted to overwrite an existing file of the same name during the unzip operation.

Click the OK button to create the self-extracting Zip file. Be sure to test the file in all target environments before distributing it.

Note: If you are using WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition or WinZip Self-Extractor, you should be aware of some restrictions. Neither WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition or WinZip Self-Extractor 4.0 can create self-extracting Zip files if the original Zip file:

  • Contains any files that were compressed using the bzip2 compression method
  • Contains any files that were compressed using the xz compression method
  • Contains any files that were compressed using the MP3 compression method
  • Uses the 64-bit Zip file format extensions. These extensions are used if there are more than 65,535 files in the Zip file or if the Zip file itself or any file contained in the Zip file exceeds 4GB in size.

If you have any questions about this information, please submit a Technical Support ticket.

Related Articles:
What is a Self-Extracting Zip File?
Differences: WinZip Self-Extractor and the Personal Edition
License requirements to distribute self-extracting Zip files

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