File Type Windows Cabinet File IconWindows Cabinet File
File Format Proprietary (Microsoft)
Usage Open manually; may be referenced by an application
Popularity ★ ★ ★ ★ ★  Popular

A cabinet file stores multiple compressed files in a library. It is an efficient way to package data and is often used for creating software installation archives. Examples of installers that use cabinet files include device drivers, software updates, and network components.

Developers can use cabinet creation tools such as Makecab.exe and Cabarc.exe to create cabinet files for use with a software installer. Large files can be spanned across multiple cabinets, but each cabinet can have a maximum of 15 files that span to a second cabinet file. The installation utility, such as Windows Installer, extracts the files in the same order they are stored in the cabinet file.

Important: CAB files may be located inside or outside of an .MSI file.

Info About Microsoft Windows Installer

Windows Installer is a utility included with the Windows operating system for installing applications. It extracts files from installer packages and copies them to the locations defined by the installer. The program can be used to install Microsoft software as well as third-party applications. Windows Installer can also be used to remove software that has been previously installed.

Open With

IconMicrosoft Windows Installer

IconCorel WinZip

IconSmith Micro StuffIt Deluxe


IconCorel WinZip Mac

IconSmith Micro StuffIt Deluxe Mac

IconIncredible Bee Archiver



Published November 15, 2011
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Information from the PC File Extensions Reference