Self-extracting file maker

Create self-extracting, self-installing files from compressed files with this portable freeware.

Best Self Extractor is actually JiJi Self Extractor, a portable freeware utility that converts compressed files into self-extracting executables, which is a fancy way of saying files that open when you click them instead of requiring you to extract them before you can open them. It supports 15 different types of compressed files, including ZIP, 7ZIP, JAR, RAR, TAR, ISO, CAB, and Z. It's useful for packaging files for sending via e-mail or posting online. You can also create self-executing packages that not only automatically decompress their contents but also activate them, which is particularly useful for bundling software packages for installing on client PCs.

We extracted this tool's download and opened the program, which included a registration notification for commercial users. JiJi is a very simple tool that walked us through each step of the process from its compact dialog-style interface. On the first screen, we browsed to and added files, chose a destination file path and name, and clicked Next. The next screen let us choose an icon for our self-extracting file or to stick with the default. We could also create a 300-character message with a 30-character title for our file. Next we selected the Extraction Folder Path, which is the folder the program uses to store extracted data on our PC: Default, which is relative to the self-extracting file; Temp, the user's Temp folder; and an option to let the user choose during extraction. We could also select and enter password protection. The self-executing file wizard included a FileName option as well as the ability to issue any valid DOS command. We clicked Finish, and the program quickly returned a pop-up telling us our job was done. We opened the target folder and clicked the newly created self-extracting file, which not only extracted the data but also displayed our message in a pop-up.

JiJi Self Extractor has a competent HTML-based Help file with clear instructions and numerous screenshots. This program proved not only capable but easy to use--almost foolproof--and fast.

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