Self-extracting (SFX) archives

An SFX (SelF-eXtracting) archive is an archive, merged with an executable module, which is used to extract files from the archive when executed. Thus no external program is necessary to extract the contents of an SFX archive, it is enough to execute it. Nevertheless WinRAR can work with SFX archives as with any other archives, so if you do not want to run a received SFX archive (for example, because of possible viruses), you may use WinRAR to view or extract its contents.

SFX archives usually have .exe extension as any other executable file.

SFX archives are convenient if you want to give an archive to somebody, but do not know, if they have an appropriate archiver to extract files from it. You may also use SFX archives to distribute your own software. For example, WinRAR package is based on GUI RAR SFX module Default.sfx.

To create an SFX archive from the command line you may use the -sfx switch to make a new archive or S command to convert an existing archive to SFX. In WinRAR shell either select "Create SFX archive" option in Archive name and parameters dialog, when creating a new archive or enter into an already existing archive and press "SFX" button.

WinRAR distributive includes several SFX modules. All SFX modules have .sfx extension and must be in the same folder as WinRAR. By default WinRAR always uses Default.sfx module, but you may specify the name of another module directly in "-sfx" switch or "S" command. For example, to convert myarchive.rar to SFX using WinCon.SFX module run:

WinRAR SWinCon.SFX myarchive.rar

In the WinRAR shell you can select the desired SFX module from the list displayed when executing Convert archive to SFX command.

Here you can read about the following SFX modules: