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How to open damaged SFX (Self-Extracting) File

A few months ago I make experiment with compression software. It’s happened when I try to open a self-extracting file, but the executable section is damaged and show error “not valid Win32 executable file” when I run it. I’ve confused because I need the contents for my study. Because that icon file indicated it makes with Winrar, I try to open it with Winrar.

Unexpectedly Winrar can open it! Although Winrar reports that the header file is corrupt, but I still can extract all of its contents. Then I think, if the section of executable file (to extract its contents) doesn’t affect the compressed file, I can mixed compressed file with other file (see Use Image File to Protect Your Data).

After that I make experiment to check whether another installer file can open with Winrar. I found a few files can open with Winrar below:

Firefox installer file (Firefox Setup 2.0.0.x.exe)
Avg antivirus installer file
Nero Burning ROM 7.exe
dotnetfx.exe (framework 2.0 installer file)

Exactly there are some criteria installer file I found can open by Winrar. You can see it from file description that contains text below:

  1. Win32 cabinet self-extractor

  2. IExpress Setup

  3. Windows Installer Package

Please note sometimes installer file with that file description cannot be opened with Winrar.
So, if you have any installer, but it’s damaged in executable file (cannot be executed), don’t worry. You can try this method. Maybe you will feel lucky. Please let me know if this trick is useful.


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