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Cabinet (CAB) Maker\windows\system32\makecab.exe; diantz.exe

Cabinet file (.cab) compression utility

To Open

Command Prompt makecab


makecab [/v[n]] [/d var=value] [/l dir] source [destination]
makecab [/v[n]] [/d var=value] /f directive_file


A cabinet file is a compressed archive commonly used to package application installation files. Cabinets are similar to .zip files, although there are added features such as a rudimentary script system intended to install and register application components.

There are two ways to use the Cabinet Maker. First, you can compress one or more files directly, like this:

makecab \windows\greenstone.bmp greenstone.cab

which compresses the file, greenstone.bmp, into the greenstone.cab archive. The new cabinet file, greenstone.cab, is created automatically in the current directory; if it already exists, it is replaced with the new archive. Unfortunately,wildcards (*.*) aren't allowed in the source, so you can only specify one file at a time. This is where the second usage of the Cabinet Maker comes in: instead of specifying options and files directly, a single plain text file, called a directive file (.ddf) is used. The simplest directive file lists all the files to include. A line beginning with a semicolon is treated as a comment.

Assuming the lines:

;Example directive file

are saved into a file called test.ddf, the Makecab command would then look like this:

makecab /f test.ddf

Multiple directive files can be specified in the same command, listed one after another.


  • Diamond Cabinet Builder (Diantz.exe) is identical to makecab.exe; it's included only for legacy support.

  • There are two ways to open Cabinet files and extract their contents. The easiest way is to double-click on any .cab file in Explorer to display a folder view of the contents. You can then drag files out of the .cab file (items cannot be added here, however). The other way is to use the File Expansion Utility (expand.exe).

  • WinZip (http://www.winzip.com) can also be used to open .cab files, but it's not compatible with all variants of the .cab format, and thus won't open every .cab file you encounter.

  • More complicated directive files, including the use of .inf installation routines, are possible with the Cabinet Maker. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/ for details, including the use of the /v and /d parameters.

See Also

File Expansion Utility, IExpress

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