Summary: this article describes how to turn 7-Zip archives (.7z) into Self-Extracting
archives (.exe) from Windows Explorer.
7-Zip file archives can be created using the free 7-Zip file archiver, written by
Igor Pavlov and featuring a high compression ratio (especially thanks to its LZMA
method). Go to www.7-zip.org for more information about 7-Zip.
A 7-Zip Self-Extracting (SFX) archive is a stand-alone program file (Windows .exe
file) that can unpack the 7z archive (stored inside it) without needing 7-Zip or
any other tools. This is actually a .7z file bundled with a small program (stub)
that extracts the files directly from the merged .7z file to the folder specified
by the user.
See also: how to compress files into 7-Zip archives?
Before you begin, you need to have got the two following tools.
- Paquet Builder - Freeware (or Registered) Edition. Paquet Builder
can convert 7-Zip, Cabinet and Zip archives into simple or advanced Self-Extractors
in .exe format. It can also create .7z, .cab and .zip files itself.
- Shell extension for Paquet Builder (free add-on):
allows you to access to the Paquet Builder features directly from Windows Explorer
» Turn an existing 7-Zip archive into a Self-Extracting one using Windows Explorer
1. Open Windows Explorer and locate the 7-Zip archive you want to convert.
For this article, we will convert "demo.7z".
2. Highlight the 7-Zip archive and right click on it to display the mouse
3. Select "Convert to a Self-Extracting .exe".
Note that this menu will only appear if the shell extension is installed.
4. The following dialog box will appear:
You can modify the pre-defined settings if you wish. Otherwise click on "Create"
6. Paquet Builder will be opened silently and some seconds after that, your Self-Extracting
archive is created if everything was fine:
7. If you launch the .exe file, you (and anyone you send the .exe to) will see this
and when clicking Next:
You select the path where you want your files to be extracted to and you click Next.
7-Zip is not required at all.
You can change the title "Paquet Archive" using the "Archive Title"
Click on "Advanced Options" to change some default parameters:
You can even change the splash bitmap, the homepage URL and the text of the Welcome
dialog in Paquet Builder.
» Customizing the Self-Extracting archive
Paquet Builder can create tailored Self-Extracting archives: you can customize your
SFX archives from A to Z in a snap.
If you would like to create more advanced Self-Extracting archives, you can use
- enable "Open Paquet Builder to modify the package" and Paquet Builder
will be opened when you click on Create. Your Self-Extracting archive is not created
until you compile it in Paquet Builder.
- or you can enable "Create a Paquet Builder project file when compiling".
In this case, the Self-Extracting archive is created and a project file (.pbp extension)
is also output. Then double-click on this .pbp file to open Paquet Builder.
With Paquet Builder you could add a lot of additional features to your Self-Extracting
- display some prompt messages at startup.
- show readme, license agreements, etc...
- select a different default destination folder for your files.
- create shortcuts to the output files.
- execute additional programs or open document files.
- add a uninstaller.
- digitally sign the .exe file if you have a certificate.
- and much more.
See the Paquet Builder homepage for other features.
View our software products
Download software products