Self Extracting Zips

Hi all. Let me start by wishing you a very happy and prosperous 2010. In today's post I will be telling you about some trick that you can use to make your rar files more useful.

Have you ever sent a rar file via email? In case you have done so, are you aware that WinRar needs the software to get the contents unzipped? Well I met with such a situation. Here is what happened -

A few days back, I had given a rar file to one of my students. It contained a set of questions and its solutions including some 35 images. The student took the file home for studying. But unfortunately he did not have WinRar on his PC. He called me up and told me the issue. I told him to download a copy of WinRar from the Internet but unfortunately he does not have an Internet connection. So I asked him to visit me the next day and get the file as an EXE (Executable) that won't require WinRar to unzip.

Many of us might have faced such a situation - where the rar or the compressed file will not open. I know that some of you will be more technical and would have found the way out. But many of us are just unaware. So for the sake of those special people who are unaware or are restricted to using allowed softwares only (many have restrictions that they cannot install softwares of their choice at office), I have found a way of creating executables for the compressed files.

Here is the process

1. Open Win Rar
2. Select the file(s) that need to be compressed into the executable.
3. Right Click and select Add Files to Archive or you can also click on the Add Button at the top. This will display the Archive Name and Parameters dialog box. In this Dialog, select the Create SFX archive checkbox.

Note: The name will change from Rar or Zip to EXE and this means that the compressed files will be placed in a Self Extracting file.

Some Other Tips

Archive Method
a. Rar
b. ZIP

Which one should I select?

The main advantage of ZIP format is its popularity. For example, most archives in the Internet are ZIP archives. So if you are going to send an archive to somebody, but you are not sure that your addressee has WinRar to extract the contents of the archive, it might be a good idea to use the ZIP format. On the other hand you may send a self-extracting archive. Such archives are slightly larger, but can be extracted without external programs.
Another ZIP advantage is speed. ZIP archives are usually created faster than RAR.

Note: If ZIP format selected, some advanced options, not supported by this archive format, will be disabled.

RAR format in most cases provides significantly better compression than ZIP. Another important feature of RAR is support of multi-volume archives. If you need to create a multi-volume set, use RAR volumes instead.
RAR format also has a few important features absent in ZIP such as recovery record, which allows the restoration of physically damaged data, and locking of important archives to prevent their accidental modification.

RAR format is able to handle files of practically unlimited size (up to 8,589,934,591 GB), when the maximum size of a single file in a ZIP archive is 2 GB. Note that older file systems do not support files larger than 4 GB and you will need to use NTFS to work with such files.

Compression Method
This specifies which compression mode has to be used and this in turn affects the size of the compressed file created. This depends on the selection of a Zip or Rar specified earlier.

Hope you find the post useful.


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