How to Extract Files from Microsoft Cabinets

Microsoft uses .CAB files for distribution of many products.

These are basically compressed archives and are called "Cabinet" files by Microsoft. At times it becomes necessary to reinstall some driver (SYS) or library (DLL) files from original disks because the ones on the computer have become corrupted or were inappropriately replaced by some software and the new files are causing problems. When this happens you have to extract the original file(s) from the cabinet files they were originally stored in.

It's well beyond the scope of the FILExt site to list all of the Microsoft distribution files and in which cabinet file they reside; but such lists are available on the Microsoft site in the support section. Search the knowledgebase there if you require this information.

Once you have the name of the file you require and the name of the cabinet file it resides in there are several ways you can proceed to extract that file...

1) Use an Archive Utility

This is probably the most painless way to extract the necessary file from a cabinet file. You can use a utility to open the archive and then simply highlight it and let the archive utility handle the decompression and placement of the file where you tell it. You might then see something like...

ZIP Utility Picture

Just select the particular file or files you require and click on the Extract button, then tell the utility where to put the extracted file. That's all there is to it.

2) Windows XP only: Use the System Configuration Utility

If you don't have and don't want to obtain an archive utility, Windows XP has a utility that will decompress files from within a cabinet file. It's called the System Configuration Utility. You can access it by...

  • Click on the Start Menu.
  • Click on the Run item.
  • Type msconfig (with no quotes) into the dialog box and click OK.
  • Click on the General Tab in the box that appears and press the Expand File button.
  • Fill in the fields with the name of the file to expand, the cabinet file it's in, and the location where you want the file.
  • Click on OK and Windows will do the expansion.

Show Me Show me a Flash movie relating to this procedure.

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