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totoymola

Customizing WinRAR SFX for customized installers

42 posts in this topic

Hacking WinRAR SFX for customized installers - INTENDED FOR BEGINNERS

Introduction

Creating a customized look for your WinRAR SFX archives is a very easy task, but not all people know how to do it. A good example of a customized SFX is Nero. As we all know, Nero uses WinRAR to compress it’s setup files. But the SFX window has a Nero banner on it and the EXE has a custom Nero icon. So if you wan’t to create your custom installer of Nero (Please visit SiMoNsAyS' guide) and you still wan’t to make your installer look like the original, this is the best way to do it. But this is not just about Nero. You can do this if you wan’t to have a custom look on your repacked SFX’s.

This is what I’ve learned from my experience. If you have any suggestions or corrections, please let me know. In that way, you can help me learn from my mistakes, and discover new things. By the way, I would like to thank sixpack for giving me the idea of working with SFX files.

Things needed (ALL FREE/SHAREWARE)

  • Default.SFX (Download at the bottom of this page.)
  • ResHack
  • Nice icon
  • Banner (24bit bitmap, 93x302, and as small as possible)

Optional tools

  • PETITE – to compress the EXE OR UPX which has a better compression (Thanks to RyanVM for introducing UPX)
  • Axialis Icon Workshop – to edit your icons (you can use other softwares if you want)

Part I – Hacking the SFX file

1) Extract the file “Default.SFX from the original WinRAR installer and rename it to WHATEVER.SFX. Or if you have WinRAR installed on your system, you can get that file from your [iNSTALLDIR]. Or you can just download the file at the bottom of this page. Just in case you don’t know, this file is actually an EXE with the .SFX extension. Please note that you CANNOT use the Default.SFX of a GUI patched version of WinRAR.

2) Open your SFX file with ResHack. Click “Action  Replace Icon” to replace the stock icon.

3) Do the same thing with the bitmap. Clck “Action  Replace Bitmap” and replace the default bitmap.

4) Save it, and you’re done.

Here are some pictures to help you follow the instructions if you are lost.

1c0f7_001.jpg

Part II – Compressing the EXE

You have to make your SFX file as small as possible. Because the bigger your SFX file, the bigger SFX archive you will have. But don’t worry. PETITE is the perfect tool that will help us make our SFX file smaller.

1) Run the file PETGUI.EXE and open your SFX file.

2) Uncheck “All non icon/version-info…”, check “Backup”, and set the compression to Level 9.

3) Click “Start”, and you’re done.

f0751_002.jpg

EDIT: UPX'S compression is better. Thanks to RyanVM.

Download UPX here: http://upx.sourceforge.net/

Usage:

UPX -k --best Default.SFX

The "-k and --best" switches are case sensitive.

Optional

If you have Axialis Icon Workshop or other icon editor software, you can use it to edit your icon file before using it to replace the default icon of the SFX file. This is another good way to make a small hacked SFX file. We only need the 48x48, 32x32, and 16x16 Windows XP and 256 color icons. You can safely delete all other icon files in you icon to make it smaller.

Test

After creating a hacked SFX file, you can test it by rename it to EXE. Rename your WHATEVER.SFX to WHATEVER.SFX.EXE, to see how nice your icon is, and run it.

Usage

Now, to use your customized SFX file, just copy it to your WinRAR’s [iNSTALLDIR]. When you make an SFX archive, just select your SFX file in “Advanced  SFX Options  Module”. Or to make it simple, don’t rename the Default.SFX, and copy it over the original Default.SFX in your [iNSTALLDIR].

6f114_003.jpg

Good luck, and have fun! B)

PS. I’m not good in graphics (especially Adobe Photoshop), so my banner really sucks. It would be nice if someone can help me make a good one. :lol:

And please, don't ask me how to change the GUI of WinRAR, because I don't know how. Hmm.. Maybe I do.. But I'm not good in graphix! :lol:

Default.SFX

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How does Petite compression compare to UPX?

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How does Petite compression compare to UPX?

Hmm.. I'm not sure. I saw UPX but I haven't tried it yet. :P

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:thumbup

good work on your first guide.

Thanks buddy. :D Any suggestions? Hey, don't be cruel on me. This is my first time! :lol:

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Can u pls make a guide on how to change the icons for the toolbar of Winrar.

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How does Petite compression compare to UPX?

Hmm.. I'm not sure. I saw UPX but I haven't tried it yet. :P

Give it a shot and let me know. The syntax is easy:

upx file.xyz

upx.zip

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I dont understand english very well can u translate that into Tagalog and Chinese for me. LOL

Hahaha!! Do you want a PDF for the Tagalog version? Hahaha!! :lol:

@RyanVM

I'm gonna try it. :)

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@RyanVM

UPX's compression is better. I will update my first post. Thanks. :thumbup

UPX -k --best DEFAULT.SFX

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That is a huge icon. I sugest deleting the other icon files inside your icon. Especially the 128x128. That costs a lot of space.

If you use PETITE, the icon is not included in the compression. (I'm guessing :P )

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I don't know how to change the GUI of WinRAR.. Sorry Astalavista. :D

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really nice @totoymola ;)

ps: for upx i use

UPX.EXE -k --best --crp-ms=999999 --force "yourfile"

case sensitive!, but it lefts the same sizes as the original exe... am i missing something?

edit: tested and working now smaller sizes :thumbup

Edited by SiMoNsAyS
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Hello Simon!

I tried your command, and it worked. Did you hit "refresh" after the compression? :P

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Hello Simon!

I tried your command, and it worked.  Did you hit "refresh" after the compression?  :P

really lol, maybe is stupid but... no :blushing:

sometimes we miss the easiest solutions :P

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Hahaha!! :lol: It's alright buddy. It happens to me too all the time. :P

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sweet a** icon :D

the bug is a bit much IMO :P

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I also hacked the default RAR file icon. I can't post it here since it looks like the head of G. Bush on a platter. I found the icon at a Muslim website.

e1cf3_Snap9.gif

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@Astalavista

I've been doing this lately, editing WinRAR SFX for different programs I install.

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Hi there all,

Am having a little problem that i hope you may be able to help me with.

After following the steps i can't see an icon even when i change the whatever.sfx to whatever.exe... if i open the updated whatever.sfx file again in reshack and try to view the icon group i get the following error message:

this file has a non-standard resource layout...

it probably has been compressed with and "EXE Compressor"

I have not yet compressed the files.

Anyone got any ideas? I am using version 3.4.0.79 of reshack

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