CAB File - opening and understanding

Did your computer fail to open a CAB file? We explain what they are used for and recommend software that we know can open or otherwise handle your .CAB files.

What is a CAB file?

A .CAB file is a Microsoft Cabinet Archive file. Files that contain the .cab file extension are archive files. The "CAB" in the file extension stands for the word "cabinet", which is about the nature of these files.

CAB files take multiple files and store them in a single archive file. The CAB file format allows for the files' compression so that the "cabinet" file size is much smaller than it would be if each file were stored or transmitted individually. This makes it much easier to transmit large batches of files over the Internet or via email.

Many Microsoft applications use the CAB file format for their installation engines, such as the Setup API, Device Installer, and Windows Installer applications.

How to open CAB files

You will need a program compatible with the specific file you are trying to open, as different programs may use files with file extension CAB for different purposes. We have identified 4 CAB openers for Windows that is compatible with this specific type of CAB file.

Programs that open these files

BitZipperBitZipperVerified
WinZipWinZipVerified
7-Zip7-ZipVerified
WinRARWinRARVerified
We have not yet verified any programs for Mac that work with this specific file format. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below. Thanks!
We have not yet verified any web services that work with this specific file format. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below. Thanks!

Other file formats using extension .CAB

While Microsoft Cabinet Archive is a popular type of CAB-file, we know of 2 different uses of the .CAB extension.

The CAB file extension indicates to your device which app can open the file. However, different apps may use the same file extension for different types of data. So a CAB opener may not be able to open all kinds of CAB files. In this case, look through both formats to make sure you find the best suited CAB viewer.

InstallShield compressed Archive

This type of CAB file is a proprietary type of compressed archive used by early versions of the InstallShield software installation software.

InstallShield packages all files related to a software program, from the executable files themselves to image files, and bundles them together into an easy to distribute package. CAB files are compressed archive files, meaning they contain multiple files that have been reduced in size to save distribution costs.

We have not yet verified any programs for Windows that work with this specific file format. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below. Thanks!