Settings - General
Settings - Destination
Settings - Process
Settings - Explorer
Settings - Drag & Drop
Settings - Passwords
Settings - Files
Settings - Monitor
Settings - External
Settings - Misc
Right-Click Menu
System Menu
Command Line Parameters
Frequently Asked Questions

Settings - General


These options control user interface behavior.

Always show on top
  Always show the program on top of all other windows.
Minimize to system tray
  Minimizes the program to the system tray. This option is also configurable via the system command menu.
Allow multiple instances
  Allow multiple instances of the program to be open at the same time.
Use default system archive icons
  Uses the archive icon associated in Windows within the interface.
Log extraction history
  Logs extraction history in another view. This slows down the extraction process since it records the progress of each file being extracted.
Automatically switch to history view
  Once extraction starts the view will automatically change to history view giving a live log of what is occuring during the extraction process. Having the history view open during the extraction process slows extraction even further.


These options control program startup behavior.

Check for updates
  Checks to see wheither or not you have the latest version installed. This option is also available via the system command menu.
Automatically extract archives
  When opening an archive with the program, the archive will automatically be extracted.
Minimize to system tray
  Minimizes the program to the system tray once it opens.
Minimize to task bar
  Minimizes the program to the task bar once it opens.


These options are miscellaneous user interface tweaks.

Turn off all sounds
  Doesn't play sounds when a file is extracted.
  • complete.wav is played when an archive is successfully extracted
  • incomplete.wav is played when an archive is unsuccessfully extracted
Both files can be found in the installation directory.
Hide minimize balloon tool tip
  Doesn't display a balloon tool tip when the program is minimized.
Deep archive detection
  Normally, when determining if an archive file type is supported, only the extension is matched. By having this option checked, the signature of the file we be checked to determine if it is a supported archive. This is not turned on by default because it requires opening and reading of the file which can be slow when dealing with a lot of archives.

Settings - Destination


These options control where archives will be extracted to.

Always ask where to extract files to
  When extracting the user is prompted for the destination path for each archive.
Automatically extract archives to:
  Specifies the destination path for all archives to be extracted to.

This field supports macros which can be inserted by clicking on the button with the up arrow. They allow for advanced configuration of the destination path during extraction.
Example 1

If you want to extract all archives to the directory where the archive is located, you would enter in "{ArchiveFolder}". That macro would then be evaluated during extraction for the archive currently being extracted. An archive located in c:\test\archive.zip would be extracted to c:\test\

Example 2

If you want to extract all archives to a sub-directory where the archive is located, you might enter in "{ArchiveFolder}\{ArchiveName}". That macro would then be evaluated during extraction for the archive currently being extracted. An archive located in c:\test\archive.zip would be extracted to c:\test\archive\
Alternatively, you can specify the exact directory to extract all archives to. This can be done by manually entering in the path or selecting it by clicking on the button with the three dots.


These options control what happens when the program tries to extract a file to a location where there already exists a file of the same name.

Always ask what to do
  For each conflict it will prompt the user asking what action to take.
Always overwrite it
  For each conflict it will overwrite the existing file.
Never overwrite it
  For each conflict it will not overwrite the existing file.
Keep and rename
  For each conflict keep the existing file and automatically rename the new file.

Settings - Process

Archive Recursion

These options control recursive archive extraction.

Extract archives with-in archives
  During the extraction of an archive if the file currently being extracted is itself an archive, it will be automatically added to the list of archives to extract.
Recursively delete or move archives as specified below
  Applies the same move or delete options to recursively extracted archives as it would any other archive.

Successfully extracted archives

These options control what happens when an archive is successfully extracted.

Move to recycling bin
  Moves the successfully extracted archive to the recycling bin.
Move to a specific directory
  Moves the successfully extracted archive to a specific directory. When you select this option you will be immediately prompted to specify the directory.
  Deletes the successfully extracted archive.
Delete the directory containing the archives
  Deletes the successfully extracted archive's folder.
Example 1

If the archive c:\test\archive.zip is successfully extracted, then the entire c:\test\ folder is deleted. There are certain restrictions put in place to ensure that the program does not try to delete special system folders such as the desktop folder.
Open destination folder
  Opens the destination path for the successfully extracted archive in Windows Explorer.

Operation Complete

These options control what happens when an entire batch of archives is finished.

Close program
  Close the program only if all extraction operations have completed successfully.
Close program even if not successful
  Close the program regardless of the outcome of any extraction operations.
Clear list of archives to extract
  Clears the entire list of archives to extract.


These options control cleanup routines that should be done when an archive has undergone an extraction attempt.

Delete extracted files that are broken/damaged
  Removes from the hard disk any files that were not extracted successfully.
Remove duplicate archive name folder
  Removes duplicate archive name folders after extracting.
Example 1

If the archive c:\test\archive.zip is extracted to c:\test\archive\ and the archive.zip already encapsulated all files in a folder named 'archive', it would normally result in an extraction that looks like c:\test\archive\archive\. This option removes the duplicate 'archive' folder.
Rename single file after archive name
  Archives that result in a single file being extracted will have that single file renamed after that archive itself.
Example 1

If an archive c:\test\archive.zip contains only one file fortify.txt, then it will be renamed to archive.txt.
Rename single file after archive folder name
  Archives that result in a single file being extracted will have that single file renamed after that archive's folder name.
Example 1

If an archive c:\test\archive.zip contains only one file fortify.txt, then it will be renamed to test.txt.
Settings - Explorer

Context Menu

These options control what the behavior of the Windows shell context menu.

  Enables or disables the use of context menus in Windows Explorer. By design folders always contain a 'Search for archives' option.
  Turns on or off grouping of context menu items for the program.
Show/Hide - Enqueue
  Adds the archive to the list of files to extract without actually extracting it.
Show/Hide - Extract here
  Extracts the archive(s) to the current folder.
Show/Hide - Extract automatically
  Extracts the archive(s) to the current folder and unwinds duplicate folders if nessecary.
Show/Hide - Extract to folder...
  Extracts the archive(s) and prompts the user for the destination path for each archive.
Show/Hide - Extract to <Folder>\
  Extracts the archive(s) to a subdirectory in the current folder.

File Assocations

These options control what file types are associated with the program. To associate the program with a particular file type just check the file extension to associate it with.

Settings - Drag & Drop

Drag & Drop and Search

These options control drag & drop and searching for archives behavior.

  While searching for archives in folders or during drag and drop operations, you can filter out archive types considered for inclusion/exclusion based on a mask.

Type specifies how to process the mask:
Inclusion only includes archives matching the mask and excludes all others.
Exclusion excludes only the archives matching the mask and includes all others.
Mask specifies what will be matched against. Multiple masks can be used seperated by semi-colons.
Automatically extract dropped archives
  Automatically extracts any archives that you drag and drop on to the interface.

Settings - Passwords

Password List

These options control extraction with a password list.

Extract archives using the text file list of passwords.
  When an encrypted password is encountered it will cycle through all the passwords in the text file list until it successfully extracts the archive. The format of the text file should contain each password on a a separate line. Passwords in the password list also support macros.
Prompt for password upon list exhaustion
  When the text file list of passwords has been exhausted and the archive still hasn't been extracted the user will be prompted to enter in the password manually.


These options control password extraction.

Assume only one password per archive
  Speeds up password list because it doesn't check to for multiple passwords in an archive. It is technically possible for an archive to have a separate password for each file with-in the archive.
Timeout after 45 seconds
  Cancels the password dialog box after 45 seconds of inactivity. This is useful if extracting a bunch of archives unattended.

Settings - Files

If you don't want certain files to be extracted you can enter in a list of file names or a list of masks that you do not want extracted. An example would be "*.db;desktop.ini;". During extraction files matching those masks will be decompressed, but they will not be written to disk. Multiple masks can be entered separated by a semi-colon.

Settings - Monitor

To monitor a directory you can use the + and - buttons. If you wish the directory to be monitored recursively you can add a directory and it will show up with a checkbox for selecting recursive monitoring or not.

When a directory is monitored it is watched for file operations that occur in it. File operations such as copy, move, etc, are monitored. If the file that is being operated on is an archive, that archive will be added to the program's list of archives. So if you move an archive to a directory that is being monitored, the program will pick it up automatically.

It is recommended that you do not extract archives to the directory that is being monitored. In otherwords, archives should not be extracted to a destination that uses the macro {ArchiveFolder} while the recursive option is checked for that monitored directory.

ExtractNow stores the state of the directories being monitored when it closes. Any changes that occur to the monitored directory while ExtractNow is closed will be detected when it reopens.

Monitoring Options

These options control the monitoring of directories.

Automatically extract
  Automatically extract new archives that are found while monitoring directories.

Settings - External

If you want to use your own extraction processor you can specify it here. You can use the + and - buttons to add external processors. When you add one you have to specify the extension it applies to as well as the command to run. An example of a command would be:
"c:\tools\par2cmdline\par2.exe" verify "{ArchivePath}"
"c:\tools\unrar\unrar.exe" x "{ArchivePath}" "{Destination}"

Settings - Misc

Thread Priority

This option specifies the thread priority to use during extraction.


Select the language to display the interface in. 'Auto' will automatically use the language specified in Control Panel -> Region & Language settings dialog so long as it is a supported language by ExtractNow.


This option specifies an icon theme used in the program's interface.
Icon themes are located in the installation directory. To add additional icon themes just place the .icl file in the installation directory and restart the program. You must restart the program in order for theme changes to take affect.

Right-Click Menu

Menu options

You can access this right-click menu by right-clicking on the list view that contains the list of files to extract.

Add Archives
  Opens up a open file dialog to let the user add archives
Search for Archives
  Opens up a browse for folder dialog to search for archives recursively in
Test Decompression Only
  When enabled, it will make it so that during extraction it does not write any files or create any directories, effectively testing the decompression of the archive.
Extract Only the Unextracted
  When enabled, it only extract newly added archives in the list
Open Containing Folder
  Opens the folder that the archive is located in
  Opens the shell file properties dialog for the selected archives

System Menu

Menu options

You can access this system menu by right-clicking on the icon in the title bar.

Always On Top
  Ensures that the window will be the topmost window on your desktop.
Minimize to System Tray
  Minimizes the window to the system tray.
Open Config Directory..
  Opens the directory in Explorer where the extractnow.ini file is located.
Check For Updates
  Checks to see if you have the latest version installed.
  Opens the about dialog


  The following macros are supported where available:
{ArchiveName}The archive's name
{ArchiveNameUnique}The archive's name with a unique number.
{ArchiveExtension}The archive's extension
{ArchiveFileName}The archive's name and extension
{ArchiveFolder}The folder of the current archive
{ArchiveFolderName}The archive's parent folder name
{ArchiveFolderStructure}The archive's folder structure
{ArchivePath}The archive's full path
{Guid}Unique identifer string
{Env:TEMP}Environment variable where TEMP is the name of the variable
{Desktop}User's desktop folder
{Program Files}Program files folder
{UserProfile}User's profile directory
{UserLocalAppData}User's local application data directory
{Windows}Windows folder
{BrowseForFolder}Asks the user where to extract, only available via command line
{Destination}Destination path specified by user, only available while processing external commands


  Localization strings are stored in language.ini which located in the same directory as extractnow.ini.

The format of the language.ini is:
  • UTF-8 encoded with no BOM
  • Languages separated into sections
  • String translations are key/value pairs
  • Control characters must remain intact
The language that gets loaded depends on the user's current region settings located in Control Panel > Region and Language

The name of the section can either be the language code or the language code and the country code. Examples would be "[en]" and "[en-us]".

Key/Value Pairs
The key is the english translation for the string and the value would be the UTF-8 encoded language translation for the string.

Control characters
Control characters must remain in tact in the strings that are being translated. These include (\r, \n, \r\n, %d, %s, %!s, &, etc). & is a keyboard control character. To get an ampersand symbol to display use double ampersands ie &&.

Languages currently supported:

English, Korean, Hungarian, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Simplified Chinese, French, Swedish, Polish

Command Line Parameters

  Format: extractnow.exe path1 path2 path3.. /target "path" [-debug] [-window]
path1 path2 path3
Represent either a file or folder. Folders can be passed, in which case they will be searched for archives. If a file is passed, it will be checked to see if it is an supported archive type and if so dealt with.

/target "path"
The target switch allows you to specify a destination directory. This path supports macro.

Turns on debugging

Runs the program minimized to the task bar

Runs the program minimized to the system tray

Shows console window in addition to main dialog, to show detailed debug info
Example would be:
extractnow.exe archive1.zip /target "{ArchiveFolder}\Extracted\"

Frequently Asked Questions

Does ExtractNow have spyware or malware?

The installer advertises additional software offers that can be opted out of. The ExtractNow binaries are all code-signed and do not contain any hidden malware or spyware. I also offer a portable zip version available by release here that does not use the installer.

Does ExtractNow work on Windows 95, 98, ME?

It works on Windows 95 or higher.

Does ExtractNow work on Macintosh or Linux?

It does work when using the Windows application compatibility layer called Wine.

OS X 10.6 with Codeweavers Crossover 13 using the ExtractNow portable version

Linux Mint 15 Olivia 64-bit Mate Edition on Wine 1.7.10

What archive types are supported?

zip (+jar,xpi), bzip2 (+bz2,tbz2,tbz), rar, arj, z, lzh (+lha), 7z, cab, nsis, lzma, lzma86, xz (+txz), ppmd, udf, xar, mub, hfs, dmg, compound (+msi,doc,xls,ppt), wim (+swm), iso, chm (+chm,chi,chq,chw,hxs,hxi,hxr,hxq,hxw,lit), split (+001), rpm, deb, cpio, tar, gzip (+gz,gzip,tgz,tpz), mslz, flv, swf, ntfs (+ntfs,img), fat (+fat,img), mbr, vhd, pe, elf, apm, macho, ace, sit

Will you release the source code?


Where does ExtractNow save its settings?

Most program related settings are stored in extractnow.ini to allow ExtractNow to be as portable as possible. The only settings stored in the registry are unavoidable and are for registering file type assocations and configuring the shell context menu.

The extractnow.ini is stored in the user's local appdata directory due to UAC on Windows 7 and Vista.

Windows XP or earlier: %PROGRAMFILES%\ExtractNow\
Windows Vista: %USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\ExtractNow\
Windows 7: %LOCALAPPDATA%\ExtractNow\

However, if you have ExtractNow in a directory which isn't protected by UAC, you can move the extractnow.ini to the same directory as the executable and it will load the settings from the program directory instead of the user's local appdata directory.

You can also easily access extractnow.ini file via the system menu's Open Config Directory menu item.

The only requirement for ExtractNow to be able to load an ini file is that the first line be:


How do I change all the settings to their default?

You can do this by deleting the extractnow.ini file.

How do I force the language to English?

You can do this by deleting the language.ini file which is located in the same directory as the extractnow.ini file.

What happened to the "Append archive name" feature?

Those checkbox options were removed and replaced in favor of macros. In the destination tab, there is a button with an up arrow (^) that can be used to insert macros into the destination directory. The macros are evaluated each time an archive is extracted. The equivalent functionality to "Append archive name" would be to use the following macros:

I can't seem to get drag and drop to work

Due to User Account Control (UAC), if you run ExtractNow with Administrative privilages, you will be unable to drag and drop from Explorer.

Drag and drop may also appear to stop working properly if you have the search for archives filter setup incorrect under Drag and Drop tab in the Settings dialog. Ensure that none of the masks that you have entered conflict with the file type you are trying to drop.

How do I specify the temp directory used during extraction?

ExtractNow does not use a temporary directory. It extracts the archives straight to the destination directory.

What should I do if the window keeps opening offscreen or I can't see it on my monitor?

You can delete the extractnow.ini file which will reset things back to normal.

Why don't you support such and such archive type?

If you want a certain archive type not supported, contact the developer of such and such archive type to add support for their archive type into the LZMA SDK.

How can't I extract a SIT file?

ExtractNow only supports the older type of SIT archives.

What libraries do you use?

ExtractNow uses the following libraries: 7zip, UnACE, & StuffIt SDK.

Who made the icons that you use on ExtractNow?

Most of the icons are provided by PInvoke, FamFamFam, and Double-J Design.

How do I contact you to complain about a broken archive I have?

Don't. Your archive is broken and there is nothing I can do about it. I have no way of finding out the password to any archives either.

What was ExtractNow written with?

ExtractNow was written on Windows 98/XP/Vista/7 in C

Where can I get other releases of ExtractNow?


Do you release ExtractNow without the installer?

Yes, download the zip files located in the releases directory.