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How to View and Extract CAB Files from InstallShield v12 with Ease
If you have ever downloaded a software installer that uses InstallShield, you may have noticed that it contains one or more CAB files. These are compressed archive files that store the data and files that the installer needs to run. But what if you want to view or extract the contents of these CAB files without running the installer? Maybe you want to access some files that are not installed by default, or you want to modify some settings before installing. Or maybe you just want to see what's inside the installer.
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In this article, we will show you how to view and extract CAB files from InstallShield v12 with ease using a free and open source tool called Unshield. Unshield is a cross-platform tool that can handle InstallShield versions 5 and later, and it can list and extract files from InstallShield Cabinet Files (ISCF) without requiring any code from InstallShield.
What is InstallShield?
InstallShield is a software tool that creates installers for Windows applications. It is widely used by software developers and vendors to distribute their products and updates. InstallShield can create different types of installers, such as MSI (Windows Installer), EXE (Executable), or Web-based installers.
An installer created by InstallShield usually stores the files it will install inside of InstallShield Cabinet Files (ISCF). These are special CAB files that use a proprietary compression algorithm and format. They are not compatible with standard CAB files that are used by Microsoft Windows or other applications.
What is Unshield?
Unshield is a tool and a library that can extract files from InstallShield Cabinet Files (ISCF). It was created by David Eriksson as an open source alternative to the tools i5comp and i6comp, which are available for Windows only and require code from InstallShield. Unshield uses the zlib library for decompression, which is also open source.
Unshield can work on both little-endian and big-endian systems, and it supports Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and Windows. It can handle InstallShield versions 5 and later, including InstallShield v12. It can also list the contents of ISCF files, such as their compressed files, registry entries, components, features, and other data.
How to Use Unshield?
To use Unshield, you need to download the source code from GitHub and compile it using CMake. Alternatively, you can download a precompiled binary for your platform from the releases page. Once you have Unshield installed on your system, you can use it from the command line or as a library in your own programs.
To view the contents of an ISCF file, you can use the command:
unshield l filename.cab
This will list all the files and folders stored in the ISCF file, along with their sizes and attributes.
To extract all the files from an ISCF file to a specified directory, you can use the command:
unshield x filename.cab -d output_dir
This will create the output_dir folder if it does not exist, and extract all the files from the ISCF file to it. You can also use wildcards to extract only specific files or folders.
For more options and details on how to use Unshield, you can check the man page or the GitHub page.
Why Use Unshield?
There are many reasons why you may want to use Unshield to view and extract CAB files from InstallShield v12. Here are some of them:
You can access files that are not installed by the installer, such as documentation, samples, or extra features.
You can modify some files or settings before installing the software, such as configuration files, license agreements, or registry entries.
You can inspect the contents of the installer and see what it does and how it works.
You can create your own custom installers or patches using the extracted files.
You can use Unshield on any platform that supports it, not just Windows.
Unshield is a handy tool for anyone who deals with InstallShield installers and wants to have more control and flexibility over them. It is also a useful tool for developers and researchers who want to learn more about the InstallShield format and compression algorithm.
How to Install Software from Extracted CAB Files?
Once you have extracted the CAB files from InstallShield v12 using Unshield, you may wonder how to install the software from them. The answer depends on the type of installer and the files that you have extracted. Here are some general guidelines:
If you have extracted an MSI file (Windows Installer), you can simply run it with the msiexec command or double-click on it. You may need to specify some parameters or options depending on the installer.
If you have extracted an EXE file (Executable), you can run it with the command line or double-click on it. You may need to specify some parameters or options depending on the installer.
If you have extracted a Web-based installer, you may need to copy the files to a web server and run them from there. You may also need to configure some settings or permissions on the web server.
If you have extracted other types of files, such as DLLs, OCXs, or INIs, you may need to register them manually using the regsvr32 or regini commands. You may also need to copy them to specific locations or folders on your system.
Before installing any software from extracted CAB files, make sure that you have backed up your system and that you trust the source of the installer. Some installers may contain malware or unwanted programs that may harm your system or compromise your privacy.
How to View and Extract CAB Files from Other InstallShield Versions?
Unshield can handle InstallShield versions 5 and later, including InstallShield v12. However, if you encounter an installer that uses an older or newer version of InstallShield that Unshield cannot handle, you may need to use other tools or methods to view and extract CAB files from it. Here are some alternatives:
You can use i5comp or i6comp, which are tools for Windows that can extract files from InstallShield installers. However, they require code from InstallShield and they may not work for all versions or types of installers.
You can use 7-Zip, which is a free and open source file archiver that can open and extract many types of compressed files, including some CAB files. However, it may not work for all CAB files or installers.
You can use Universal Extractor, which is a free and portable tool that can extract files from any type of archive, including InstallShield installers. However, it may not work for all installers or versions.
You can use InstallShield Cabinet and Log File Viewer, which is a tool that comes with InstallShield and lets you view and extract CAB files from InstallShield installers. However, it requires a license and it may not work for all installers or versions.
Before using any of these tools or methods, make sure that you have backed up your system and that you trust the source of the installer. Some tools or methods may not work properly or may damage your system or files.
How to Create Your Own InstallShield CAB Files?
If you want to create your own InstallShield CAB files, you will need to use the InstallShield software. InstallShield is a tool that lets you create installers for Windows applications. It has many features and options that allow you to customize your installer and its CAB files.
To create an InstallShield CAB file, you will need to follow these steps:
Create a new project in InstallShield and choose the type of installer you want to create.
Add the files and folders that you want to include in your installer and organize them into components and features.
Configure the settings and options for your installer, such as the installation path, the user interface, the registry entries, the shortcuts, the prerequisites, and the custom actions.
Build your project and generate the installer and its CAB files.
You can find more details and tutorials on how to use InstallShield on its official website or its documentation.
In this article, we have shown you how to view and extract CAB files from InstallShield v12 with ease using Unshield. Unshield is a free and open source tool that can handle InstallShield versions 5 and later, and it can list and extract files from InstallShield Cabinet Files (ISCF) without requiring any code from InstallShield. We have also explained what InstallShield and CAB files are, why you may want to use Unshield, how to install software from extracted CAB files, how to view and extract CAB files from other InstallShield versions, and how to create your own InstallShield CAB files.
We hope that this article has been helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you for reading! d282676c82