What's a CAB File and How Do You Open One? (2023)

What to Know

  • A CAB file is a Windows Cabinet file.
  • Windows opens them automatically, or you can use 7-Zip.
  • Convert to EXE with IExpress Wizard, a tool built-in to Windows.

This article describes what CAB files are, how to install or open one in Windows or another operating system, and how to convert one to EXE or another format.

What Is a CAB File?

A file with the .CAB file extension is a Windows Cabinet file (they used to be called Diamond files). They're compressed files that store data related to various Windows installations that might involve device drivers or system files.

The Microsoft Publisher program's Pack and Go feature can make CAB files that end with the PUZ file extension. Within it is everything included with the document, in the same archive format as CAB, so they can be treated just the same.

What's a CAB File and How Do You Open One? (1)

The InstallShield installer program makes files with the CAB extension, too, but they're unrelated to the Windows Cabinet file format.

Some devices might use the CAB file extension to store firmware files.

How to Open CAB Files

Opening a Windows Cabinet file in Windows will automatically launch the file as an archive so you can see what's inside. Windows essentially treats it as a folder, and does so automatically; you don't need to download a CAB opener for Windows.

However, you can also open or extract CAB files with a file decompression tool. Going this route lets you open the file on other operating systems like macOS or Linux. A few free file extractors that work with CAB files include 7-Zip, PeaZip, IZArc, The Unarchiver, and cabextract.

If you have a PUZ file that came from Microsoft Publisher, you can open it with any of the file extractors just mentioned. If those programs aren't recognizing the PUZ file extension, either open the file unzip software first and then browse for the file or change the .PUZ file extension to .CAB and try again.

InstallShield CAB files aren't the same as Windows Cabinet files, but they can be extracted with unshield.

If you still can't open it, you might be confusing it with a similar file extension like CBA, CAA, or ABC.

(Video) How to Open and Use a Cab File in Windows

Installing CAB Files in Windows

If you have an offline, downloaded Windows update file in the CAB format, another way you can install it is through an elevated Command Prompt. Type this command, replacing the path to the CAB file (within the quotes) with the path to the one you're using:

dism/online/add-package/packagepath:"C:\files\cabname.cab"

Don't press Enter until you've written the whole command. Regardless of any breaks in the command that you see above, only include spaces until you reach the very end.

You shouldn't use the DISM command to install language packs, but instead the lpksetup.exe tool, like this:

  1. Open the Run dialog box with the Win+R keyboard shortcut.

  2. Enter lpksetup(the first letter is a lowercase L).

    What's a CAB File and How Do You Open One? (2)

  3. Select Install display languages.

  4. Choose Browse to locate and select the CAB file.

    What's a CAB File and How Do You Open One? (3)

  5. Select Next.

  6. Wait for the whole process to finish. It might take a while.

  7. You can close out of the Installing display languages screen when the Progress says "Completed."

    (Video) How To Install a CAB File in Windows 10

To switch to the new language, go to Settings > Time & language, and then Language & region (W11) or Language (W10). In older versions of Windows, go to Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region > Language.

How to Convert a CAB File

There aren't any file converter programs we're aware of that can do a clean CAB to MSI conversion. However, you might find help from other InstallShield users in the Flexera Community.

WSP files are SharePoint Solution Package files used by Microsoft SharePoint and compressed in the CAB format. You can rename the WSP file to CAB and open it like you would a Windows Cabinet file.

You can convert CAB to EXE with IExpress Wizard, a tool included in Windows. Open the Run dialog box with the Win+R keyboard shortcut and then type iexpress.

If you need to convert CAB to KDZ to get an Android firmware file in the right format, follow the instructions at BOYCRACKED.

More Information on the CAB Format

Windows might compress a CAB file with DEFLATE (like most ZIP files), Quantum, or LZX since the format supports all three compression algorithms.

Every CAB archive is compressed as a whole instead of each file individually. A CAB archive can hold up to 65,535 CAB folders, and those folders can contain an equal number of files.

When a CAB file is actually used by an installer, the files contained within it are extracted on an as-needed basis and in the order that they're stored within it.

A large file can be made into multiple CAB files so long as no more than 15 files span to the next CAB file. This means that you could have up to 15 files in one CAB file that span to the next CAB file in the series, and that one could even have up to 15.

CAB files are recognized by the first four bytes. If you open a CAB file as a text file with atext editor, you'll see "MSCF" as the very first four letters.

You can make a CAB file with makecab.exe, which is included in Windows. Running a command like this in Command Prompt would compress the file into a CAB archive:

makecab.exeC:\files\program.jpgC:\files\program.cab

You can read more on the Windows Cabinet file format from Microsoft's Windows Developer Center.

Can You Delete CAB Files?

It might be tempting to delete CAB files from your computer when you see dozens or even hundreds of them in one folder. What's extremely important before deciding this is to understand where the CAB files are and whether or not they're important.

For example, CAB files in the system32 folder should be kept no matter what. Trying to decipher what's important in here can be really confusing, and making a wrong decision could cause problems later on since Windows might need the CAB file you deleted to fix a corrupt file.

(Video) How to extract cab files

However, CAB files that are related to iTunes, DirectX, or some other third-party program can probably be safely deleted without causing system damage, but they might make the program stop working or prevent certain tasks from running. If the program stops working after deleting the CAB files, just repair it or reinstall it, but chances are that these kinds of files are only temporary.

Due to the nature of what CAB files are, it's common to see them within the setup files of a program. For example, the Microsoft Office installer includes several CAB files, some of them pretty large. If these are removed, it would corrupt the installer and you wouldn't be able to use those setup files to install MS Office.

Some software will dump cab_xxxx files into the C:\Windows\Temp\ folder while installing updates or doing some other system related task. It's completelysafe to remove CAB files in this location unless your computer is actively updating or installing software (since they might be being used at that time).

If you can't delete them because they keeping regenerating (e.g., the C:\Windows\Logs\CBS\ folder keeps making LOG and CAB files), try deleting the oldest LOG file there (or all of them) and then remove every CAB file from C:\Windows\Temp\.

FAQ

FAQs

Can you extract a .CAB file? ›

Extracting CAB files is pretty simple, but if you want to extract and manage these files like a pro, the WinZip software is your best bet. WinZip is well-known file archive software, and it offers native support for CAB files and other popular archive formats such as RAR, ZIP, 7Z, ISO, TAR, and IMG.

What is a cabinet file on computer? ›

A cabinet is a single file, usually with a . cab extension, that stores compressed files in a file library. The cabinet format is an efficient way to package multiple files because compression is performed across file boundaries, which significantly improves the compression ratio.

Can a CAB file be a virus? ›

cab file. If a virus is present in a . cab file, the virus should be detected when the file is uncompressed. Therefore, there is almost no increased risk in using this method.

How do you analyze a CAB file? ›

You can also open a CAB file using 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 do I manually install a CAB file? ›

To install a CAB file in Windows 10, please refer these steps:
  1. Open administrative Command Prompt.
  2. Type following command after substituting correct CAB file path and press Enter key: dism /online /add-package /packagepath:"<PUT-CAB-FILE-PATH-HERE>"
  3. This should let you install the update.
21 Jan 2018

Is a CAB file a zip file? ›

The CAB file format enables single file compression of multiple files, which facilitates installer package creation. CAB and ZIP archives are similar because each format compresses multiple files into a single file container. A cabinet icon represents ZIP files.

Where can I extract CAB files? ›

Use WinZip

WinZip is a well-known file archiver software, and it's the best way to extract CAB files. The software offers native support for CAB files, and you can extract them simply by opening them with WinZip. The software also supports ZIP, RAR, 7Z, TAR, ISO, IMG, and other popular archive formats.

Do I need to keep CAB files? ›

(CABinet file) A file format from Microsoft used to hold compressed program files on its distribution disks and downloads. CAB files often remain in storage after a Windows update, but they can be safely deleted.

Where do CAB files go Windows 10? ›

Open File Explorer and double-click on the CAB file you need to open. Typically the Extract option is grayed out, but we have a workaround. Press CTRL+A to highlight all the files. Right-click on any of the highlighted files and click on Extract.

How do I open a CAB file in Windows 11? ›

cab: file on Windows 11, use these steps:
  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Open the folder with the cabinet file.
  3. Double-click the “. ...
  4. Select all the contents (Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut).
  5. Right-click the selection and select the Extract option (Click the OK button in the warning).
  6. Select the folder destination to extract the files.
15 Apr 2022

Do people still use file cabinet? ›

Anyone who has ever worked in an office can tell you that filing cabinets are incredibly common. Some have them placed strategically throughout the office, others have them in entire rooms dedicated to records management.

What are the different types of file cabinets? ›

On a surface level, the most common types of filing cabinets are lateral, vertical, mobile, open shelf, and flat.

How do I create a CAB file? ›

To create a DIAGCAB file, use the Makecab.exe or Cabarc.exe tool. For details, see Microsoft Cabinet Format. The makecab.exe tool is located in the %Windir%\System32 folder. You should sign the cabinet file so if it is downloaded from the Web, the user knows that it came from a trusted source.

How does a file get a virus? ›

A virus can be spread when a user opens an email attachment, runs an executable file, visits an infected website or views an infected website advertisement, known as malvertising. It can also be spread through infected removable storage devices, such as Universal Serial Bus (USB) drives.

Do viruses show up in files? ›

Viruses can be disguised as attachments of funny images, greeting cards, or audio and video files. Computer viruses also spread through downloads on the Internet. They can be hidden in pirated software or in other files or programs that you might download.

How do you remove a virus from a file? ›

If your PC has a virus, following these ten simple steps will help you to get rid of it:
  1. Step 1: Download and install a virus scanner. ...
  2. Step 2: Disconnect from internet. ...
  3. Step 3: Reboot your computer into safe mode. ...
  4. Step 4: Delete any temporary files. ...
  5. Step 5: Run a virus scan. ...
  6. Step 6: Delete or quarantine the virus.

What is a CAB file in Windows temp folder? ›

The cabinet files (CAB-xxxx) files that you see in the C:\Windows\Temp\ folder are temporary files created by different Windows operations, like installing Updates. You can use File Explorer to delete CAB files from the C:\Windows\Temp\ folder. Alternatively, run Disc Cleanup to remove temporary files.

How do I open a sage CAB file? ›

Start Sage 50 Accounting and in the Sage 50 window select Restore from backup and click OK. 2.In the Restore from Backup dialog box click Next. 3.In the Select Backup File dialog box click Browse to locate the required . CAB file, select the file and click Open (or double-click the file).

What is CAB archive? ›

The CAB -- short for "Windows Cabinet File" -- file format is an archive format, so a CAB file is able to store multiple files and even folders. These files are usually used by software companies to store files and folders needed to install their products on your business computer.

How do I open an MSU file in Windows 10? ›

Installing Windows Update from MSU File

To start the installation of a Windows update package, just double-click the MSU file you have downloaded. If the update is applicable to this computer, a Windows Update Standalone Installer window will open, where you will be prompted to confirm the update installation.

How do I open a .CAB file in Windows 7? ›

The main command to install a CAB update file is DISM.exe /Online /Add-Package /PackagePath:"Path to CAB". The command needs to be run from an elevated command prompt window. The PKGMGR command looks like this: Pkgmgr /ip /m:"Path to Cab" /quiet.

How do I convert a CAB file to a zip file? ›

How to convert CAB to ZIP
  1. Upload cab-file(s) Select files from Computer, Google Drive, Dropbox, URL or by dragging it on the page.
  2. Choose "to zip" Choose zip or any other format you need as a result (more than 200 formats supported)
  3. Download your zip.

How do I convert ZIP files to cabs? ›

You can convert ZIP to CAB with MConverter in three easy steps:
  1. Choose ZIP files from your device. At the top of this page, drag and drop your ZIPs. ...
  2. Click or tap on CAB from the list of target formats. ...
  3. Download your CAB files, after MConverter has finished processing them.

How do I turn a file into a zip? ›

Right-click on the file or folder.

Select “Compressed (zipped) folder”. To place multiple files into a zip folder, select all of the files while hitting the Ctrl button. Then, right-click on one of the files, move your cursor over the “Send to” option and select “Compressed (zipped) folder”.

How do I extract a file? ›

To unzip files

Open File Explorer and find the zipped folder. To unzip the entire folder, right-click to select Extract All, and then follow the instructions. To unzip a single file or folder, double-click the zipped folder to open it. Then, drag or copy the item from the zipped folder to a new location.

How do I manually install a CAB file? ›

To install a CAB file in Windows 10, please refer these steps:
  1. Open administrative Command Prompt.
  2. Type following command after substituting correct CAB file path and press Enter key: dism /online /add-package /packagepath:"<PUT-CAB-FILE-PATH-HERE>"
  3. This should let you install the update.
21 Jan 2018

How do I extract a cabinet file in Windows 10? ›

cab file you want to extract and click “Open'. Select the files and folders you wish to extract. You can select all files by pressing “Ctrl+A” or select some by holding down “Ctrl” as you select. Click “extract to” and choose the folder you want to extract the files to and click “OK“.

How do I extract a CAB in Windows 10? ›

Open File Explorer and double-click on the CAB file you need to open. Typically the Extract option is grayed out, but we have a workaround. Press CTRL+A to highlight all the files. Right-click on any of the highlighted files and click on Extract.

How do I open a CAB file in Windows 11? ›

cab: file on Windows 11, use these steps:
  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Open the folder with the cabinet file.
  3. Double-click the “. ...
  4. Select all the contents (Ctrl + A keyboard shortcut).
  5. Right-click the selection and select the Extract option (Click the OK button in the warning).
  6. Select the folder destination to extract the files.
15 Apr 2022

Do I need to keep CAB files? ›

(CABinet file) A file format from Microsoft used to hold compressed program files on its distribution disks and downloads. CAB files often remain in storage after a Windows update, but they can be safely deleted.

Where are Windows CAB files? ›

The CAB-xxxx files that you see in the C:\Windows\Temp\ folder are some temporary files created by different Windows Operations, like installing Updates. You can safely delete these files off from that folder. Alternatively, you can also run Disc Cleanup to delete the temporary files from your computer.

How do I open an MSU file in Windows 10? ›

Installing Windows Update from MSU File

To start the installation of a Windows update package, just double-click the MSU file you have downloaded. If the update is applicable to this computer, a Windows Update Standalone Installer window will open, where you will be prompted to confirm the update installation.

Is a CAB file a zip file? ›

The CAB file format enables single file compression of multiple files, which facilitates installer package creation. CAB and ZIP archives are similar because each format compresses multiple files into a single file container. A cabinet icon represents ZIP files.

How do I extract all files from my computer? ›

Open File Explorer and find the zipped folder. To unzip the entire folder, right-click to select Extract All, and then follow the instructions. To unzip a single file or folder, double-click the zipped folder to open it. Then, drag or copy the item from the zipped folder to a new location.

Does Windows have a built in file extractor? ›

In Windows 10, you can find the Extract all button in File Explorer's “Compressed Folder Tools” tab after selecting or opening the ZIP file. Regardless of the option you used and your operating system, Windows opens the “Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders” window.

How do I open a sage CAB file? ›

Start Sage 50 Accounting and in the Sage 50 window select Restore from backup and click OK. 2.In the Restore from Backup dialog box click Next. 3.In the Select Backup File dialog box click Browse to locate the required . CAB file, select the file and click Open (or double-click the file).

What does extract mean on Windows? ›

To restore the original files from a compressed archive (ZIP file, RAR file, etc.). See archive, data compression and archive formats.

Does Windows 10 have an extractor? ›

You can zip and unzip files in Windows 10 just by right-clicking them. To zip files, right-click them and select the "Send To" option. To unzip files, right-click the ZIP and select "Extract all."

What causes CAB files in temp folder? ›

The cabinet files (CAB-xxxx) files that you see in the C:\Windows\Temp\ folder are temporary files created by different Windows operations, like installing Updates. You can use File Explorer to delete CAB files from the C:\Windows\Temp\ folder. Alternatively, run Disc Cleanup to remove temporary files.

Does Windows 11 have a file extractor? ›

Alternatively, to unzip files in Windows 11 using File Explorer, right-click a selected zip file within the right pane of the File Explorer window and then select the “Extract All…” command in the pop-up contextual menu that appears to open the same “Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders” wizard window.

How do I access files in Windows 11? ›

File Explorer in Windows 11 helps you get the files you need quickly and easily. To check it out in Windows 11, select it on the taskbar or the Start menu, or press the Windows logo key + E on your keyboard.

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