Opening CAB files

Have a problem opening a .CAB file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what CAB files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .CAB file type?

The .cab extension is an abbreviation of 'Cabinet' and associates primarily with the proprietary Microsoft Cabinet (CAB) file format and file type. CAB was developed by Microsoft (MS) as the standard compressed archive format for software package distribution.

A .cab file is a binary archive that can be compressed with either the Deflate (MSZip), LZX or Quantum compression algorithm. For CAB files containing large software installation packages, the LZX compression would be preferred, while small CAB's would use MSZip or Quantum instead. CAB also uses digital signatures to verify data integrity.

CAB files are used by all main Windows software installation technologies (Windows Installer, AdvPack, Device Installer etc.) and can be embedded into self-extracted archives (.exe) or MSI packages. Windows offers native support of .cab archives through Windows Explorer and the 'expand' and 'extract' utilities.

CAB archives are supported and can be opened/processed by practically every multi-format archive manager in Windows as well as in MacOS/Unix/Linux/Android etc.

The .cab extension is also used to mark resource container files used with InstallShield(IS)-based software installers. Such IS .cab files use a different compression method (zlib) and a different vendor-specific file format, and thus are incompatible with MS CAB. Such IS .cab files can be opened/processed with IS tools or any archive manager that supports them.

Software to open or convert CAB files

You can open CAB files with the following programs:
WinRAR by win.rar GmbH
WinZip by WinZip Computing, S.L.

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