How to open an InstallShield Data .cab file.

InstallShield logo Some program installations use InstallShield, and the program files are compressed into Data .cab files.  But InstallShield decided to be cute, and use their  own propriety format with older versions of the Data .cab file.  They could have used a standard compression algorithm like .ZIP,  but did not.

My guess is that they didn’t want people fiddling with the raw files.

That’s a bummer for those of us who need to get at the files, such as Application Packagers.  I discussed this a little in the InstallShield Temp Directory Trick.

So it’s a good thing that CDMediaWorld has utilities, such as i6Comp to extract the files.  Just download it (I picked i6comp02.zip) and then run i6comp.  This is what i6Comp looks like when listing files from the data.cab file:

C:\temp\InstallShield>i6comp l -v -r data1.cab
InstallShield 6.x Cabinet Util
Version 0.2 -] fOSSiL & Morlac - 2000 [-

Date       Time   OrigSize  Attr  CompSize   Ind FileName
========== ===== ========== ==== ========== ==== =================
12-16-1999 10:24      28529 ____       5841    0 corecomp.ini
09-05-2001 04:18      77824 A___      29916    1 ctor.dll
09-05-2001 04:13      32768 A___       4483    2 objectps.dll
...
08-22-2003 17:27     278190 A___     264385  180 PowerDVD.CHM
09-05-2003 16:16      65536 A___      30014  342 AudioFilter\clds.dll
09-05-2003 16:16      45056 A___       8203  343 AudioFilter\clwo.dll
09-05-2003 16:16     245760 A___      81241  344 AudioFilter\CLADR.ax
09-05-2003 16:16     126976 A___      43046  347 AudioFilter\CLAuTS.ax
09-05-2003 16:25      73728 A___      27800  348 AudioFilter\CLAudioCD.ax
09-05-2003 16:25     503808 A___     239856  349 NavFilter\CLNAVX.ax
09-12-2003 18:38     520192 A___     205346  350 VideoFilter\CLVSD.ax
09-05-2003 16:16      45568 A___      23075  351 VideoFilter\CLLine21.ax
----------      ---------- -------------------
49878589        19880422  311 file(s) total

C:\temp\InstallShield>

The list output is more interesting than the extract output. which is why I’ve showed list.  Other options are:

C:\temp\InstallShield>i6comp
InstallShield 6.x Cabinet Util
Version 0.2 -] fOSSiL & Morlac - 2000 [-

Usage: i6comp <cmd> [-opts] <cab> [file index|fmask|path] [disk fmask|path]
Commands
l: list Files
g: list File Groups    c: list Components   t: list Setup Types
s: convert multi-volume cab to a single volume (not recommended)
e: extract files (specify <cab index|mask> when specifying <disk path>)
x: same as 'e' with subdirs
r: replace files in cab (same syntax as 'e')
d: delete files from cab (specify <cab index|mask>)
a: add files to cab (<cab path> is optional; must specify -g OR -f)
z: zero-size files (specify <cab index|mask>)
Options
v: verbose info mode
r: extract subdirs/recurse and store subdirs
d: include directories in cab matches
g<name|index>: specifies File Group to work with
o: suppress supplementary output (start msg, comments, etc.)
f: treat File Groups as directories (usefull for GUI, wrappers)

C:\temp\InstallShield>

Update: this does not work with InstallShield 12 or later.  I’ve written a post about that here.

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