CAB File Extension

CAB file icon
Windows Cabinet Format
  • Developer
    Microsoft
  • Popularity
    3.7 (9 votes)

What is CAB file?

CAB is an installer archive file. Microsoft Windows uses many automated software installation tools which utilize CAB archives. CAB files store system files, libraries, device drivers, network protocols, configuration files, and other types of resources needed by given application that is to installed.

CAB file compression

Data in CAB archives is compressed using one of the following algorithms:

  • Quantum,
  • LZX,
  • ZIP.

Digital signature

Besides various types of compression methods, CAB format also supports digital signatures. Digital signatures can be used to verify the authenticity of software packages stored in CAB files.

Other types of installer files

Contents of CAB files may also be used by third-party installer tools. There is no guarantee, however, that such files are compatible with the files supplied by Windows developers.

Programs which support CAB file extension

The following list contains programs grouped by 3 operating systems that support CAB files. CAB files can be encountered on all system platforms, including mobile, yet there is no guarantee each will properly support such files.

How to open file with CAB extension?

Problems with accessing CAB may be due to various reasons. What is important, all common issues related to files with CAB extension can be resolved by the users themselves. The process is quick and doesn’t involve an IT expert. The list below will guide you through the process of addressing the encountered problem.

Step 1. Get the Windows Installer

The main and most frequent cause precluding users form opening CAB files is that no program that can handle CAB files is installed on user’s system. This one is an easy one. Select Windows Installer or one of the recommended programs (for example, WinZip, 7-Zip, WinRAR) and download it from appropriate source and install on your system. The full list of programs grouped by operating systems can be found above. One of the most risk-free method of downloading software is using links provided by official distributors. Visit Windows Installer website and download the installer.

Step 2. Verify the you have the latest version of Windows Installer

You still cannot access CAB files although Windows Installer is installed on your system? Make sure that the software is up to date. Sometimes software developers introduce new formats in place of that already supports along with newer versions of their applications. This can be one of the causes why CAB files are not compatible with Windows Installer. All of the file formats that were handled just fine by the previous versions of given program should be also possible to open using Windows Installer.

Step 3. Associate Windows Cabinet Format files with Windows Installer

If the issue has not been solved in the previous step, you should associate CAB files with latest version of Windows Installer you have installed on your device. The process of associating file formats with default application may differ in details depending on platform, but the basic procedure is very similar.

Selecting the first-choice application in Windows

  • Choose the Open with entry from the file menu accessed by right-mouse clicking on the CAB file
  • Next, select the Choose another app option and then using More apps open the list of available applications
  • To finalize the process, select Look for another app on this PC entry and using the file explorer select the Windows Installer installation folder. Confirm by checking Always use this app to open CAB files box and clicking OK button.

Selecting the first-choice application in Mac OS

  • From the drop-down menu, accessed by clicking the file with CAB extension, select Information
  • Open the Open with section by clicking its name
  • Select the appropriate software and save your settings by clicking Change all
  • A message window should appear informing that This change will be applied to all files with CAB extension. By clicking Continue you confirm your selection.

Step 4. Ensure that the CAB file is complete and free of errors

You closely followed the steps listed in points 1-3, but the problem is still present? You should check whether the file is a proper CAB file. It is probable that the file is corrupted and thus cannot be accessed.

1. Check the CAB file for viruses or malware

If the CAB is indeed infected, it is possible that the malware is blocking it from opening. Immediately scan the file using an antivirus tool or scan the whole system to ensure the whole system is safe. CAB file is infected with malware? Follow the steps suggested by your antivirus software.

2. Ensure the file with CAB extension is complete and error-free

If you obtained the problematic CAB file from a third party, ask them to supply you with another copy. It is possible that the file has not been properly copied to a data storage and is incomplete and therefore cannot be opened. When downloading the file with CAB extension from the internet an error may occurred resulting in incomplete file. Try downloading the file again.

3. Ensure that you have appropriate access rights

Sometimes in order to access files user need to have administrative privileges. Switch to an account that has required privileges and try opening the Windows Cabinet Format file again.

4. Check whether your system can handle Windows Installer

If the systems has insufficient resources to open CAB files, try closing all currently running applications and try again.

5. Ensure that you have the latest drivers and system updates and patches installed

Regularly updated system, drivers, and programs keep your computer secure. This may also prevent problems with Windows Cabinet Format files. It is possible that one of the available system or driver updates may solve the problems with CAB files affecting older versions of given software.

Conversion of a CAB file

File Conversions from CAB extension to a different format
File conversions from other format to CAB file
Do you want to help?

If you have additional information about the CAB file, we will be grateful if you share it with our users. To do this, use the form here and send us your information on CAB file.

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