What is a Self-Extracting Zip File?

A self-extracting Zip file is a Windows executable file (.exe). It will contain a Zip file and a small program to extract (unzip) the files in the Zip file. A user 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 the Self-Extractor program. WinZip Self-Extractor Personal Edition, which is included within WinZip, and WinZip Self-Extractor which is licensed and 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 shared file distribution and downloading because they:
    • Can run a setup or installation program, which may be included by the developer in the Zip file from which the extractor is made
    • Can easily distribute one or more compressed files with or without folders
    • Can include sensitive information protected with 128- and 256-bit AES encryption
    • Can create smaller files with LZMA, JPEG, PPMd, WavPack and Enhanced Deflate compressed Zip files (.zip or .zipx). (Note: LZMA, Jpeg, WavPack and .zipx support are only available in WinZip Self-Extractor 4.0)
    • Can use recognizable, custom, high resolution icons (Note: Current Windows icon support requires WinZip Self-Extractor 3.1 or later)
    • Can contain multiple compressed files, reducing download time and grouping important files so that they do not become separated or missed
    • Provides the receiver a minimal, easy to understand Windows interface so that inexperienced users can extract (unzip) files with little to no instruction
  • Folder information in Zip files is automatically restored, including empty folders
  • Standard self-extractors display a dialog box that makes it easy for the user to change the Unzip To folder and set other options before extracting the files.

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

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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