I have a program whose install I'm trying to automate with a batch file, the problem is that I don't know what program is used to make the setup file and thus I am unsure of what command line switches are available.

How can I acquire this information? If it's any help this is the icon:


Update: Universal Extractor marks it as "Microsoft Visual C++ v6.0 DLL [Overlay] *" 7zip can open it, contents are:

  • .text
  • .rdata
  • .data
  • .rsrc
  • [data-1]

I can't see anything that looks like command line switches though.

P.S. Sorry to remove the image tag, won't let me update otherwise.

3 Answers 3


2 ways spring to mind. First is to run it with the /? command-line option. That might give you a list of available command-line switches.

Second way is to grab a copy of 7-zip and try to extract it. It might be the case that the setup.exe you have is a self-extracting archive (many are), so doing this will give you access to the files inside it. You may even get lucky and find that there's an MSI in there, which would really make your job easier.

  • +1 /?. windows' --help
    – shufler
    Oct 30, 2009 at 14:49

I ran into a similar looking set of files after unpacking the installer.exe using 7zip.

My interest was not so much automating the install as learning how the installer was written (it contained some nice functionality I'd like to use in my own installers).

The main difference was that I had a file named [0]. That file was also the largest file.

Using "strings /n 4 installer.exe" I managed to get some neat switches:

  • /noprereqs
  • /prereqs
  • /aespassword
  • /proxypassword
  • /proxyusername
  • /password
  • /username
  • /out
  • /callbackid
  • /groupsextract
  • /exelog
  • /listlangs
  • /exelang
  • /exefullui
  • /exebasicui
  • /exenoui
  • /deletelzma
  • /extractlzma
  • /originalPath
  • /extract
  • /help

When renaming the "[0]" to bulk.exe it turned out to have the versioninfo structure, and some more information was revealed merely by right-clicking it and selecting properties.

Running that file started the installer. However, 7zip refused to open it.

On a hunch I renamed it to bulk.msi and ran the dark.exe from the wix tool chain to reverse engineer it to source code. Interestingly that worked just fine!

However, it seems that either all the interesting stuff was done by an outer layer wrapper (some google searches indicated it was probably written using wise installer) or hidden from view by using custom actions.

All the best,



You don't say, but I'm assuming Windows.

There is a program here called "strings" that will let you see the text in a file. Often you can use that to see things like the command line switches if progname /? doesn't help. You can run it like this:

strings progname.exe

It will show most of the text in the file, so you may have to look through quite a bit of both junk and stuff that's of no interest before you see what you're looking for (if it's even there).

You must log in to answer this question.