Extracting individual files from setup executables

This content is 15 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

A while back, I wrote about using a Windows Server 2003 resource kit utility called dvdburn.exe to write ISO images from the command line. I needed to do that on one of my systems today but couldn’t find dvdburn.exe on my software share. It turns out that’s because it is one of many utilities that are embedded within the installer package for the resource kit (rktools.exe). Because the machine in question is my main Hyper-V host, I didn’t want to install unnecessary software on it but I figured the executable file must contain all the necessary resources for setup, so I set about extracting its contents.

First up, I ran rktools.exe /? to see what command line options were available and it confirmed that rktools.exe /c: /t:path would allow me to extract the contents to a path of my choice but when I checked there was an .MSI and two small .CAB files there. The .CAB files can be opened with a zip utility but the .MSI is a little more difficult as msiexec.exe doesn’t appear to have an option to extract the contents of the installer to a folder.

Luckily there is a utility, based on WiX, which will do this for me – Scott Willeke’s Less MSIérables (lessmsi.exe). Using this I could successfully extract the contents of the .MSI without installing the software. Then I could run dvdburn.exe (as I needed) and delete the extracted files without leaving any trace of the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit’s existence on my system.

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