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I have a sony Vaio and I have downloaded the sound driver for it. The driver claims it is being installed on a computer its not compatible with, and crashes. I know that it is wrong. I assume the driver files live inside the EXE, so I could just install them manually through the device manager if I could get the files out.

Does anybody know of a good program for popping open EXE files and extracting the contents?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

Depends on the installer system used to package it. Universal Extractor can extract files from most common installer packages (Installshield, NSIS, Wise, among many others), although if you're on Vista or Windows 7 you may want to try installing the driver in compatibility mode.

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as mentioned, other archive tools may also be able to extract from a generic .EXE installer: winzip, winrar, 7zip, etc. – quack quixote Oct 20 '09 at 4:51
@quack +1 for 7zip, it can open nearly every Installer-Package. – Bobby Oct 20 '09 at 6:58
+1. I have seen a driver hidden in a MSI in an EXE in a ZIP in a RAR. – kinokijuf Jan 22 '12 at 12:43

Sometimes when you run those programs they extract their files to some temporary folder. Monitor data access by that program. Maybe it already extracts itself.

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+1 for method that could be applied without installing additional software. – foraidt Oct 20 '09 at 8:14
That's how I debug Windows Update errors – Scoregraphic Oct 20 '09 at 13:43

If you use Total Commander, hitting Ctrl + Page Down will show you the contents of the archive if the executable actually is an archive. It will be treated like a normal zip archive.

There's also a plugin for Total Commander called InstallExplorer used to view msi files as any regular archive.

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If the file is a standard installer format, such as a .msi, there are programs available to extract it's contents, because it's an established installer file format.

However, if the installer is simply a standard .exe file you'll have to hack together a way to install it by stepping through the disassembly of the code and find the point where it detects if the driver is compatible with the computer, and then modifying that. However, doing this requires programming knowledge.

Unless Winzip is doing something weird that I don't know about-it will not be able to open a .exe (windows portable executable) file by interpreting it as a zip archive.

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the driver download is likely a self-extracting compressed file, which automatically executes the installer after decompressing. WinZip may be able to extract it. The Universal Extractor that John T mentions probably much more likely :) – emgee Oct 20 '09 at 3:42
It requires far more than "programming knowledge" to disassemble and modify the installer ;-) – foraidt Oct 20 '09 at 8:13

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