The goal: I have an .exe file and punch of other files (img/dll/ini/exe) which it depends on in the same folder with it but I'd like to have everything wrapped in a single .exe file which I could pass around on other windows machines and fire up the underlying program by running the standalone .exe.

As a web-only developer this is a whole new foreign continent for me so I'm not sure how this idea might sound in your head - Can one include the files an .exe depends on within the same .exe file? (something like what the resource hacker tool does?)

I guess the other option would be to make another .exe container around the exising and its support files. I've found a few commercial solutions like MoleBox and ThinApp which by their descriptions offer the other option - are there any freewares out there?

I feel it would be too much to ask for a complete overview of the inner workings of creating an .exe file like that but I'd like to get some feel of the "how to" part that goes to the process.

  • this is not nearly so simple as you expect. you have to alter the code of the exe in order to embed resources (they are not like a folder, they must be extracted before they can be written to, so .ini's and config files are out of the question). images can be done as you suggest, but you still need to edit the program code to know that they are resources, not files, and encapsulating DLLs completely destroys their purpose. Since you are a web guy, consider the changes you would have to make to a webapp to move all the images from ~\img to a database stored as binary. Jan 15, 2014 at 19:53
  • You can make a WinZip archive into a self-extracting .exe. That is pretty much the best you can hope for based on your current description of what you want.
    – Ramhound
    Jan 15, 2014 at 20:00
  • @Ramhound my apologies for not being clear enough - self-extracting .exe is not what I'm looking for. Edited the question for the sake of clarity.
    – Jaak Kütt
    Jan 15, 2014 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


Try Cameyo, it's free for home / small business usage. It is very similar to VMware ThinApp.

In order to package an application, you will have to install Cameo and capture the installation with it. It monitors the files which were add or changed, and packages them to a standalone .exe file.

They also have an online packager, you just have to upload your setup file.In order to use it, you'll have to register to the site (it is free, too!).

  • It might seem strange to ask but - can it package a program which doesn't require an install?
    – Jaak Kütt
    Jan 15, 2014 at 20:23
  • I am not sure and unfortunately I am not able to test it now, but I think it is possbile. You can just activate monitor mode and copy the files to some folder. In the worst case scenario (I know it's really stupid), you can make your own installer application (I recommend InnoSteup, it's quite easy to use) and go with it.
    – matan129
    Jan 15, 2014 at 20:27

Expanding off of matan129's answer, you can try Cameyo. In addition, look into Enigma Virtual Box, which offers similar functionality to Cameyo, but does not have a sort of "virtualization control panel" that lets you view all of the virtualized apps; instead, it just sticks everything in one executable and lets you run it. There's no sign of branding, as far as I can tell, and it's all free. Requires .NET 4 on the target computer in order to run the packed executable.

  • will the target computer run an update&install process to acquire the .NET 4 if it is missing or just fail while screaming?
    – Jaak Kütt
    Jan 15, 2014 at 20:30
  • Unfortunately, just kick and scream. On the plus side, nearly every Windows computer out there these days in a non-corporate setting should have .NET 4 or higher.
    – Caleb Xu
    Jan 15, 2014 at 20:33

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