The .cat file extension can be found in files that are commonly used in a variety of Microsoft and Internet applications. A CAT file is necessary because it holds the security catalog file that contains a list and digest files. A digest is a number generated by an algorithm and is uniquely identifiable to a given file, like a fingerprint. The digest is used for security or validation purposes.
Catalog files are used in order to avoid multiple trust dialog boxes when users download software components from the Internet. Trust dialog boxes are modal security warnings that prompt users before a software is installed on their computers. Catalog files specify that a given set of files belongs to the same logical group of files.
They identify which program files are already installed on the system and if the user attempts to download another program with the same program files, CAT files prompt the user that the same files are already installed to avoid duplication. CAT files also help the user to use trusted programs by putting a focus utilization to applications that are already tried and tested.
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