StdUtils plug-in

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Author: LoRd MuldeR (talk, contrib)

Swiss Army Knife for NSIS – This plug-in provides access to a number of "standard" functions from the C Standard Library, which programmers are used to from C/C++ and other "high level" languages, but which are not normally available in NSIS. In order to keep the plug-in size as small as possible and for maximum compatibility, the Visual C++ Runtime v6.0 "MSVCRT.DLL" is used, which is an integral part of all versions of Windows (since Windows 2000). This means that the C++ Runtime neither needs to be shipped as a separate DLL nor does it need to be linked statically into the plug-in.

Many additional functions, not directly related to the C Standard Library, have been added over the years: For example, this plug-in provides a number convenience functions to deal with strings, such as trimming whitespaces or validating a given file name. There also are some functions to conveniently access the command-line parameters that have been passed to the installer. Furthermore, there is a wrapper for the SHFileOperation function, which can be used to copy or move files using the Windows Shell, as well as a function to efficiently append the contents of one file to another file. Moreover, the plug-in provides a method for launching programs in a non-elevated way (aka "user mode") from an installer that is running in elevated context (aka "admin mode"). In addition to that, there is a set of functions that can be used to detect the real Windows version that the installer is running on, which still work correctly/reliably on Windows 8.1 (and later) where Microsoft has broken the GetVersionEx() system function. And, as if this wasn't enough, the plug-in can compute the cryptographic hash of a given file or text message, using various state-of-the-art hash functions, including SHA-{1,2,3}. Last but not least, the plug-in provides a variant of ExecShell with "wait for process termination" feature, based on ShellExecuteEx, as well as a function for invoking "shell verbs" – useful for programmatically pinning shortcuts to the Taskbar.

Overall I use this plug-in as my "Swiss Army Knife" for all the small things I needed in my NSIS-based installers but that NSIS didn't provide out-of-the-box. ANSI and Unicode builds are provided. Supports all Windows versions, starting with Windows XP.

For details please refer to the online documentation, a copy of which is also included in the download package!

Available Functions

The StdUtils plug-in makes the following functions available in NSIS:

!define StdUtils.Time             #time(), as in C standard library
!define StdUtils.GetMinutes       #GetSystemTimeAsFileTime(), returns the number of minutes
!define StdUtils.GetHours         #GetSystemTimeAsFileTime(), returns the number of hours
!define StdUtils.GetDays          #GetSystemTimeAsFileTime(), returns the number of days
!define StdUtils.Rand             #rand(), as in C standard library
!define StdUtils.RandMax          #rand(), as in C standard library, with maximum value
!define StdUtils.RandMinMax       #rand(), as in C standard library, with minimum/maximum value
!define StdUtils.RandList         #rand(), as in C standard library, with list support
!define StdUtils.FormatStr        #sprintf(), as in C standard library, one '%d' placeholder
!define StdUtils.FormatStr2       #sprintf(), as in C standard library, two '%d' placeholders
!define StdUtils.FormatStr3       #sprintf(), as in C standard library, three '%d' placeholders
!define StdUtils.ScanStr          #sscanf(), as in C standard library, one '%d' placeholder
!define StdUtils.ScanStr2         #sscanf(), as in C standard library, two '%d' placeholders
!define StdUtils.ScanStr3         #sscanf(), as in C standard library, three '%d' placeholders
!define StdUtils.TrimStr          #Remove whitspaces from string, left and right
!define StdUtils.TrimStrLeft      #Remove whitspaces from string, left side only
!define StdUtils.TrimStrRight     #Remove whitspaces from string, right side only
!define StdUtils.RevStr           #Reverse a string, e.g. "reverse me" <-> "em esrever"
!define StdUtils.ValidFileName    #Test whether string is a valid file name - no paths allowed
!define StdUtils.ValidPathSpec    #Test whether string is a valid full(!) path specification
!define StdUtils.SHFileMove       #SHFileOperation(), using the FO_MOVE operation
!define StdUtils.SHFileCopy       #SHFileOperation(), using the FO_COPY operation
!define StdUtils.AppendToFile     #Append contents of an existing file to another file
!define StdUtils.ExecShellAsUser  #ShellExecute() as NON-elevated user from elevated installer
!define StdUtils.InvokeShellVerb  #Invokes a "shell verb", e.g. for pinning items to the taskbar
!define StdUtils.ExecShellWaitEx  #ShellExecuteEx(), returns the handle of the new process
!define StdUtils.WaitForProcEx    #WaitForSingleObject(), e.g. to wait for a running process
!define StdUtils.GetParameter     #Get the value of a specific command-line option
!define StdUtils.TestParameter    #Test whether a specific command-line option has been set
!define StdUtils.ParameterCnt     #Get number of command-line tokens, similar to argc in main()
!define StdUtils.ParameterStr     #Get the n-th command-line token, similar to argv[i] in main()
!define StdUtils.GetAllParameters #Get complete command-line, but without executable name
!define StdUtils.GetRealOSVersion #Get the *real* Windows version number, even on Windows 8.1+
!define StdUtils.GetRealOSBuildNo #Get the *real* Windows build number, even on Windows 8.1+
!define StdUtils.GetRealOSName    #Get the *real* Windows version, as a "friendly" name
!define StdUtils.GetOSEdition     #Get the Windows edition, i.e. "workstation" or "server"
!define StdUtils.VerifyOSVersion  #Compare *real* operating system to an expected version number
!define StdUtils.VerifyOSBuildNo  #Compare *real* operating system to an expected build number
!define StdUtils.HashText         #Compute hash from text string (CRC32, MD5, SHA1/2/3, BLAKE2)
!define StdUtils.HashFile         #Compute hash from file (CRC32, MD5, SHA1/2/3, BLAKE2)
!define StdUtils.TimerCreate      #Create a new event-timer that will be triggered periodically
!define StdUtils.TimerDestroy     #Destroy a running timer created with TimerCreate()
!define StdUtils.GetLibVersion    #Get the current StdUtils library version (for debugging)
!define StdUtils.SetVerbose       #Enable or disable "verbose" mode (for debugging)

For details please refer to the online documentation, a copy of which is also included in the download package!

(The "offline" documentation can be found at "Docs\StdUtils\StdUtils.html" inside the ZIP package)

General Usage

In order to use the StdUtils plug-in in your script, simply include "StdUtils.nsh" and then use the pre-defined ${StdUtils.FunctionName} macros like this:

!include 'StdUtils.nsh'
	${StdUtils.Rand} $1
	DetailPrint "Random number obtained via StdUtils::Rand is: $1"

Note: We highly recommend to not call the plug-in functions directly. Instead, use the pre-defind macros from StdUtils.nsh, which will ensure that the plug-in functions are used in the "proper" way.

For more details, please have a look at the example scripts located in the "Examples\StdUtils" directory of the download!


  • The StdUtils plug-in for NSIS was created by LoRd_MuldeR.
  • This plug-in has partly been inspired by the ShellExecAsUser plug-in, created by installer32.
  • This plug-in has partly been inspired by the InvokeShellVerb plug-in, created by Robert Strong.


StdUtils plug-in for NSIS
Copyright (C) 2004-2015 LoRd_MuldeR <>

This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public
License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either
version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
Lesser General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public
License along with this library; if not, write to the Free Software
Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA  02110-1301  USA.

The author of the StdUtils plug-in Library for NSIS adds the following clarification to the GNU Lesser General Public License version 2.1: Installer programs (executables) created with NSIS (Nullsoft Scriptable Install System) that make use of the StdUtils plug-in Library (strictly through the NSIS plug-in interface) and that contain/distribute verbatim copies of the StdUtils plug-in Library are considered a "work that uses the Library"; they do not represent a derivative of the Library.

Please see the GNU Lesser General Public License (version 2.1) for details!


Download the latest version from GitHub:

Other official download mirrors:

Source Code Access (Git)

Archived Versions

For historical reasons only. Please do not use these outdated versions nowadays!


If you have any feature requests or bug reports, please submit them directly to our GitHub bug-tracker:

For help and support, please use the "NSIS Discussion" sub-forum of the Winamp forums:

Contact by E-Mail - please do not use this method, if any of the above methods is applicable for you:
MuldeR2 (at) gmx (dot) de

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