Well, the subject says it all. I have an exe that is an SFX, and I want to extract the ZIP from the SFX. How can I do that?


7-Zip should be capable of doing this. You can right click the file and select "Open Archive" or navigate to the file within 7-Zip and right-click and select "Open Inside".

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  • @Darcs: I can't open the archive because the zip is encrypted with password. I just want to extract the zip from the exe, without unzipping in the middle. – TCS Sep 22 '11 at 9:40
  • Can't say if it will work for your file, but simply changing the extension from .exe to .zip seemed to work fine for me. It will still contain the executable parts of the file, but 7-Zip seems perfectly happy to ignore it. – Dracs Sep 22 '11 at 10:07
  • 7-zip will open and recognize it, but I don't want the exe part in the file (purly zip file, that its header is PK, and not MZ like an exe). – TCS Sep 22 '11 at 10:58
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    I've managed to do this using a hex editor. The plain zip file and the edited SFX are identical. The process I did was to look for the zip file's header in the SFX. For 7-Zip this seems to be 37 7A BC, I did a search for the last occurrence of it. Then I deleted everything prior to it. This seems to give me an file identical to zipping my test file by itself. If you need a hex editor I used XVI32. Let me know if it works for you or if you need anymore help. – Dracs Sep 22 '11 at 11:28
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    If it's a proper ZIP format archive, the correct way to locate the data is to locate the central directory header by its four byte magic number and read the central directory to find the first file header. – JdeBP Sep 22 '11 at 15:03

On Linux it is possible with "zip" utility:

$ file london_f.exe
london_f.exe: PE32 executable for MS Windows (GUI) Intel 80386 32-bit

Warning: The next line changes the original .exe file to make it a pure zip archive without the exe parts!

$ zip -J london_f.exe
$ file london_f.exe
london_f.exe: Zip archive data, at least v1.0 to extract
$ zip --version
Copyright (c) 1990-2008 Info-ZIP - Type 'zip "-L"' for software license.
This is Zip 3.0 (July 5th 2008), by Info-ZIP.
Currently maintained by E. Gordon.  Please send bug reports to
the authors using the web page at www.info-zip.org; see README for details.
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On Linux, if it's a stubborn one and

zip -J file.exe

doesn't transform it into an extractable zip because the non-zip part isn't just prepended, see the manual page:

          Strip any prepended data (e.g. a SFX stub) from the archive.

then the zip utility has two other useful options:

          Fix the zip archive. The -F option can be used if some portions of the archive are missing, but requires a reasonably intact  central  directory.   The
          input archive is scanned as usual, but zip will ignore some problems.  The resulting archive should be valid, but any inconsistent entries will be left

          When doubled as in -FF, the archive is scanned from the beginning and zip scans for special signatures to identify the limits between the archive  mem‐
          bers. The single -F is more reliable if the archive is not too much damaged, so try this option first.

          If  the  archive is too damaged or the end has been truncated, you must use -FF.  This is a change from zip 2.32, where the -F option is able to read a
          truncated archive.  The -F option now more reliably fixes archives with minor damage and the -FF option is needed to fix archives where -F  might  have
          been sufficient before.

          Neither  option  will recover archives that have been incorrectly transferred in ascii mode instead of binary. After the repair, the -t option of unzip
          may show that some files have a bad CRC. Such files cannot be recovered; you can remove them from the archive using the -d option of zip.

          Note that -FF may have trouble fixing archives that include an embedded zip archive that was stored (without compression) in the archive and, depending
          on the damage, it may find the entries in the embedded archive rather than the archive itself.  Try -F first as it does not have this problem.

          The format of the fix commands have changed.  For example, to fix the damaged archive foo.zip,

                 zip -F foo --out foofix

          tries  to read the entries normally, copying good entries to the new archive foofix.zip.  If this doesn't work, as when the archive is truncated, or if
          some entries you know are in the archive are missed, then try

                 zip -FF foo --out foofixfix

          and compare the resulting archive to the archive created by -F.  The -FF option may create an inconsistent archive.  Depending on what is damaged,  you
          can then use the -F option to fix that archive.

          A split archive with missing split files can be fixed using -F if you have the last split of the archive (the .zip file).  If this file is missing, you
          must use -FF to fix the archive, which will prompt you for the splits you have.

          Currently the fix options can't recover entries that have a bad checksum or are otherwise damaged.

So try

zip -F file.exe --out extracted.zip

and if that fails

zip -FF file.exe --out extracted.zip
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If you're dealing with gog.com games, use Innoextract. unzip, unrar, 7zip and others did not work for me:

sudo apt install innoextract # Install (On Debian/Ubuntu)

innoextract setup_duke3d_2.0.0.85.exe # Extract
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  • Do other zip programs NOT work with GOG files? Are GOG files self-extracting? – music2myear Jul 14 '17 at 22:05

I have yet to see a zip-manipulation program that can't do this. Self extracting archives are also valid zip files, just with a bunch of extra stuff in them (the extractor).

You will probably find that you can't select the utility as a way of opening the file but if you simply run the utility and then select the file it works.

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  • How would you do it with Windows' default built-in "Compressed Folders" utility? – cowlinator Aug 30 '19 at 21:55
  • @cowlinator No idea. Long, long ago I found the built-in handler buggy and I haven't tried to use it since. – Loren Pechtel Aug 30 '19 at 22:05

You can open an SFX file with WinZip if you want to access the files within. You don't need to execute the file.

It looks like a range of other compression utilities will also open SFX files.

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  • I don't want to decompress the file (it is password protected), I just want to extract the zip from the exe. – TCS Sep 22 '11 at 9:41
  • That will do it for you. Open in WinZip, and save archive as something.zip – Rory Alsop Sep 22 '11 at 9:49

I had a similar problem, an SFX executable, that basically runs an exe that then allows you to run the files within the archive. Opening exe in 7zip shows it password protected. I searched for a solution, it must store the password in some kind of header... While reading this thread an alternative solution occurred to me.

Run the exe, then check C:\windows\temp sort by date and find the folder that the exe extracted to, there are the files inside the zip. Take them out and zip them back up. Viola! you have a zip of the exe, sans password.

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