.CAB File Extension

Windows Cabinet File

Developer Microsoft
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What is a CAB file?

A CAB file is an archive saved in the Windows Cabinet archive format. The CAB format supports the .ZIP, Quantum, and LZX data compression algorithms. CAB files contain compressed data and are used for Windows software installations, such as system files, network components, and device drivers.

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Screenshot of a .cab file in Windows File Explorer
CAB file open in Windows File Explorer

Typically, CAB files contain Windows system or device driver updates. For example, a CAB file might contain driver updates for a printer. Windows often automatically downloads and installs the updates CAB files contain, using installers such as Setup API, Device Installer, and AdvPack. However, users can also manually download CAB files from the Microsoft Update Catalog.

Additionally, Windows users can create their own CAB files using a command-line utility called makecab. To use makecab, open a Command Prompt window, enter makecab.exe, and press Enter. This will show instructions for how to use makecab.

NOTE: The .PUZ file format, which is used by Microsoft Publisher's Pack and Go Wizard, is essentially identical to the CAB file format.

How to open a CAB file

In Windows, you can double-click a CAB file to examine the file's contents in Windows File Explorer. You can also open a CAB file with a variety of archive management tools. For example, Corel Winzip (Windows, Mac), 7-Zip (Windows), The Unarchiver (Mac), and ZDevs ZArchiver (Android) all allow users to decompress CAB files and examine their contents.

How to install a CAB file

If you want to install the Windows software a CAB file contains, run the Microsoft System Configuration Utility (msconfig.exe) and then enter:

dism /online /add-package /packagepath: path/to/your/CABfile.cab

For example, if your CAB file is located in your Downloads directory, you would enter dism /online /add-package /packagepath: Downloads/CABfile.cab.

NOTE: To run msconfig.exe, select Run from the Windows Start menu, type "msconfig," and press Enter.

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Programs that open or reference CAB files

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