How to Create a Self-Extracting Zip File

I recently had a need to create a self-extracting zipped file in order to post the Expression Web 4 Tutorials EBook to the Microsoft Gallery. Did you know windows has a built-in tool to create self-extracting archives? Its name is 'Iexpress.exe'?

Click on any thumbnail to view a larger image of the dialog window.

Step 1: Click the Windows Start button > select Run > Type iexpress > Click OK

Screenshot Start > Run dialog box.

Step 2: The IExpress Wizard starts.

Screenshot IExpress Wizard.

Tick either Create new Self Extraction Directive file OR Open existing Self Extraction Directive file > Click Next

Step 3: Select the Package Purpose (you will see a detailed explanation depending on the selection you tick)

  • Extract files and run an installation command
  • Extract files only
  • Create compressed files only

Screenshot Select Package Purpose.

Step 4: Type the Package Title. This title will appear on all dialog boxes that the user sees. Click Next.

Screenshot Package Title.

Step 5: Select whether your user should receive a Confirmation Prompt or Not> If yes, type the Prompt you wish them to receive. Click Next

Screenshot Confirmation Prompt dialog box.

Step 6: Choose whether you user will see a License Agreement. If Yes, select the file to be displayed. Click Next.

Screenshot License Agreement dialog box.

Step 7: Select the files you wish to have included. Browse to the location of the files to add. Click Next.

Screenshot Packaged Files dialog box.

Step 8: Select how your Installation window will be displayed. Click Next.

Step 9: Select what you want as the Finished Message, tick either No message or Display message. Then type your message.

Step 10: Browse to the location of the file your user will download and execute. Then select the Options you wish you use.

Step 11: Choose whether you wish to Save Self Extraction Directive. Saving it means you can edit the file rather than have to re-enter all of the information later.

Step 12: Create Package > Click Next

Once you package has been created, you will see the information in the Status window.

Once you have created your .exe file, make sure you TEST it so that you know it works as expected.  When the user goes through the steps of extracting the files, they will be prompted to enter or browse for a path to extract to. Simple!

I am sure there are many more ways to use this nifty tool for packaging scripts or programs but this served the purpose I needed it for.

You can read more about IExpress Technology and the IExpress Wizard  on the Microsoft site.

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