Thursday, December 31, 2015

Extracting without installing: MSI installer
Windows Installer/MSI files extension usually .msi but some installers has .exe extension and wrap the raw MSI file inside, like for example Viber for Windows or Evernote.
   Even with all the Google search results on hand, we have no success in extracting wrapped-MSI installer directly. Be it answers on StackOverflow, IT-Ninja, etc., unfortunately nothing works... :(

Extracting without installing: Inno installer
Inno Setup is a free software that's also very popular in installer packaging. It comes with the install_script.iss file that's so useful for any portable application developer.
   You can learn what libraries or services used by the application and most importanty—how to run it, complete with all required arguments/parameters.

Extracting without installing
7-Zip for All...! We can easily extract many installer types with this "little tool that can" do so much :) Even other archiver based on it like Bandizip can't do all of 7-Zip can.
   And its "Open archive" prowess is so useful in identifying what kind of installer an executable is. We will see this prowess later in analyzing each installer type. The basic rule is to try to open any installer executable with 7-Zip first.