Updated: 11/13/2018 by Computer Hope
Open file cabinet drawer containing multiple file folders and one file folder sticking out

Cabinet, abbreviated as cab, is a compressed file archive format used in Microsoft Windows. A single cabinet file, or cab file, may contain multiple files within a relative directory hierarchy.

The default file extension of a cabinet file is .cab.

Extracting files from a cabinet archive

Any or all the files may be extracted from the cabinet archive, using any of the following methods.

  • In File Explorer, highlight the .cab file by clicking it once. The header Compressed folder tools appears in the title bar. Beneath this, click Extract to show extraction options.
  • In File Explorer, double-click a .cab file to navigate the files and directories contained in the archive. The Compressed folder tools header and Extract option appear, and may be used as in the previous method.
  • At the Command Prompt, use the extrac32 command to extract the contents of a cabinet file. For example:
  • You may also use a third-party compression utility, such as 7-Zip, to open a cabinet file and extract its contents.

Creating a cabinet archive

To create a cabinet file, you can use the makecab command at the Command Prompt. For example, to create a cabinet,, containing one file, file.txt, you may use the command:

makecab file.txt

Compressed file, Computer abbreviations, Driver, File, Operating system terms