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SUMMARY

This step-by-step article describes how to extract compressed files. Many Microsoft product files are compressed and stored in cabinet (.cab) files; to use a file in a .cab file, you must first extract that file. You may want to extract a new copy of a file if you have a missing or damaged file. This article shows you multiple methods for doing so. Windows 95 and Windows 98 are available on CD-ROM or floppy disks, both of which contain compressed cabinet files. Windows Millennium Edition (Millennium Edition) is available on CD-ROM; it contains compressed cabinet files and also installs compressed cabinet files in the C:\Windows\Options\Install folder. These cabinet files contain the actual Windows files. This article describes how to extract individual files from compressed cabinet files.

Windows Millennium Edition

In Windows

To extract files in Windows Millennium Edition, use the System Configuration Utility tool. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Type msconfig, and then press ENTER.
  3. On the General tab, click Extract File.
  4. In the Specify the system file you would like to restore box, type drive:\windows\path\file (where drive is the drive on which the Windows folder is installed, generally drive C, path is the location in the Windows folder is the destination of the file that you are extracting, and file is the file that you want to extract).
  5. Click Start, click Browse, and then locate the Windows installation files. If you are using an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) version of Windows Millennium Edition, the installation files are on the hard disk at C:\Windows\Options\Install by default. If you are using a retail full version or upgrade version, you can also insert the Windows Millennium Edition installation CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive or DVD-ROM drive, and then locate the installation files. The folder is named "Win9x". For example, if your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive is D:, the folder is named "D:\Win9x". For Windows 98, the folder is named D:\Win98.
  6. Click OK, and then follow the instructions on the screen.
Because Windows Millennium Edition has a feature called System File Protection, extraction is different for these files. For additional information about how to extract protected files in Windows Me, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
265371 How to Extract and Replace a Protected File in Windows Me


Cannot Start Windows

When you install Windows Millennium Edition, you are prompted to create a Windows Millennium Edition startup disk. A feature included in the Windows Millennium Edition startup disk is support for CD-ROM drives. This may be of benefit if you have to extract a file from the Windows Millennium Edition CD-ROM but you cannot use the System Configuration Utility tool (for example, if your computer does not start properly).

Note The Windows Millennium Edition startup disk provides support for most types of CD-ROM drives, including IDE and SCSI CD-ROM drives, but it may not support your particular CD-ROM drive.
Create a Startup Disk
You must have a Windows Millennium Edition startup disk to perform the steps in the following sections of this article. If you do not have one, you can create one using any Windows Millennium Edition-based computer to which you have access. To create a Windows Millennium Edition startup disk, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  3. On the Startup Disk tab, click Create Disk, and then follow the instructions on the screen.
Extract Files By Using Startup Disk
To start your computer with CD-ROM support, and then extract files, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows Millennium Edition startup disk into drive A, and then restart your computer.
  2. When the Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition Startup menu appears, click Start computer with CD-ROM support.

    Note If you purchased your computer with Windows Millennium Edition installed, the cabinet files may be installed in the Windows\Options\Install folder: If these files are on your computer, you do not have to have CD-ROM support at this step, and you can extract the files that you must have from the Windows\Options\Install folder. Click Start computer without CD-ROM support, and then continue to step 4 without using step 3.
  3. Insert the Windows Millennium Edition CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive.
  4. At the command prompt, type ext, press ENTER, and then follow the instructions on the screen.

Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition

In Windows

To extract files in Windows 98 or Windows 98 Second Edition, use the System File Checker tool. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Run.
  2. Type sfc, and then press ENTER.
  3. Click Extract one file from installation disk.
  4. In the Specify the system file you would like to restore box, type drive:\windows\path\file (where drive is the drive where the Windows folder is installed, generally drive C, path is the destination of the file that you are extracting, and file is the file that you want to extract).
  5. Click Start, click Browse next to the Restore from box, and then locate the Windows installation files. By default, in the OEM version of Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition the installation files are on the hard disk in the C:\Cabs folder. With a retail full version or upgrade version, you can also insert the Windows installation CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive or DVD-ROM drive, and then locate the Windows installation files. The folder is named "Win9x". For example, if your CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive is D:, the folder is named "D:\Win9x". For Windows 98, the folder is named D:\Win98.
  6. Click OK, and then follow the instructions on the screen.

Cannot Start Windows

When you install Windows 98, you are prompted to create a Windows 98 startup disk. A feature included in the Windows 98 startup disk is support for CD-ROM drives. This may be of benefit if you have to extract a file from the Windows 98 CD-ROM but you cannot use System File Checker tool (for example, if your computer does not start properly).

Note The Windows 98 startup disk provides support for most types of CD-ROM drives, including IDE and SCSI CD-ROM drives, but it may not support your particular CD-ROM drive.
Create a Startup Disk
You must have a Windows 98 startup disk to perform the steps in the following sections of this article. If you do not have one, you can create one by using any Windows 98-based computer where you have access. To create a Windows 98 startup disk, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  3. On the Startup Disk tab, click Create Disk, and then follow the instructions on the screen.
Note If you do not have a startup disk or access to a Windows 98-based computer, you may be able to create a startup disk from the MS-DOS prompt on your computer. For additional information about how to create a startup disk in MS-DOS for Windows 98, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
186300 How to Create a Windows 98 Startup Disk from MS-DOS for Windows 98
Extract Files by Using Startup Disk
To start your computer with CD-ROM support and then extract files, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows 98 startup disk into drive A, and then restart your computer.
  2. When the Microsoft Windows 98 Startup menu appears, choose Start computer with CD-ROM support.

    Note If you purchased your computer with Windows 98 installed, the cabinet files may be installed in the C:\Cabs folder. If these files are on your computer, you do not have to have CD-ROM support at this step, and you can extract the files that you must have from the folder on the hard disk. To do so, click Start computer without CD-ROM support, and then continue to step 4 without using step 3.
  3. Insert the Windows 98 CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive.
  4. Type ext at the command prompt, press ENTER, and then follow the instructions on the screen.

Windows 95

To extract files in Windows 95, use the extract command. To do this, follow these steps.

In Windows

  1. Click Start, point to Find, and then click Files or Folders.
  2. In the Look in box, click Drive C, and then click to select the Include subfolders check box.
  3. In the Named box, type .cab to search for cabinet files.
  4. Click Find Now.

    If the cabinet files do not exist on the hard disk, insert the Windows installation CD-ROM, and then repeat the search on the CD-ROM drive.
  5. When you find the cabinet files, note the location of the file (for example, C:\Cabs). This is your source path.
  6. In the Named box, type extract.exe to search for the extract command program.
  7. Click Find Now. If the extract command does not exist on the hard disk, copy the Extract.exe file from disk 1 or the Windows 95 CD-ROM to the root folder of drive C. To do so, type the following command at the MS-DOS prompt:
    copy cd_drive:\extract.exe hard_disk:\
    where cd_drive is the drive that contains the Windows 95 CD-ROM or disk and hard_disk is your hard disk. For example:
    copy a:\extract.exe c:\
  8. Click Start, and then click Run.
  9. Generally, the extract command has the following form:
    extract source path\ file /L c:\windows\command
    For example, if the source path is C:\Cabs, the extract command is
    extract drive:\cabs\file /L drive:\windows\path
    where drive is the drive on which Windows is installed (typically drive C), path is the destination folder for the extracted file, and file is the file that you want to extract.

    Type the following command, and make the appropriate substitutions as previously noted:
    extract source path\ file /L c:\windows\command
  10. Click OK.
Access Denied Error
The Extract tool has only a command-line interface. That is, there is no graphical user interface (GUI). Because Windows does not permit you to delete or overwrite a file that is in use, you may have to restart your computer in Command Prompt Only mode before you can use the Extract tool. If you receive an "access denied" error message when you try to delete a file before you use the Extract tool, or when you use the Extract tool to overwrite an existing file, restart your computer in Command Prompt Only mode and then use the Extract tool. To do this, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, and then click Shut Down.
  2. Click Restart, and then click OK.
  3. When you receive the "Starting Windows 95" message, press the F8 key, and then click Command Prompt Only.
Note If you are extracting Windows files from a CD-ROM, make sure that you can change directories to your CD-ROM drive from the command prompt. For example, type the following commands, pressing ENTER after each line:
cd drive:
dir
where drive is the drive letter of your CD-ROM drive.

If you receive an "invalid drive specification" error message, you may not have real-mode CD-ROM support. For additional information about real-mode CD-ROM support, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
135174 Cannot Access CD-ROM Drive from MS-DOS Mode or Command Prompt


Cannot Start Windows

When you install Windows 95, you are prompted to create a Windows 95 startup disk. A feature included in the Windows 95 startup disk is support for CD-ROM drives. This may help if you must extract a file from the Windows 95 CD-ROM, but you cannot use the previous steps (for example, if your computer does not start properly).

Note The Windows 95 startup disk provides support for most types of CD-ROM drives, including IDE and SCSI CD-ROM drives, but it may not support your particular CD-ROM drive.
Create a Startup Disk
You must have a Windows 95 startup disk to perform the steps in the following sections of this article. If you do not have one, you can create one by using any Windows 95-based computer where you have access. To create a Windows 95 startup disk, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click Add/Remove Programs.
  3. On the Startup Disk tab, click Create Disk, and then follow the instructions on the screen.
Note If you do not have a startup disk or access to a Windows 95-based computer, you may be able to create a startup disk from the MS-DOS prompt on your computer. For additional information about how to create a startup disk in MS-DOS for Windows 95, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
284943 How to Create a Windows 95 Startup Disk in MS-DOS
Extract Files by Using Startup Disk
To start your computer with CD-ROM support and then extract files, follow these steps:
  1. Insert the Windows 95 startup disk into drive A, and then restart your computer.
  2. When the Microsoft Windows 95 Startup menu appears, choose Start computer with CD-ROM support.

    Note If you purchased your computer with Windows 95 installed, the cabinet files may be installed in the C:\cabs folder. If these files are on your computer, you do not have to have CD-ROM support at this step, and you can extract the files that you must have from the folder on the hard disk. To do so, click Start computer without CD-ROM support, and then continue to step 4 without using step 3.
  3. Insert the Windows 95 CD-ROM into the CD-ROM drive.
  4. Generally, the extract command has the following form:
    extract source path\ file /L c:\windows\command
    For example, if the source path is C:\Cabs, the extract command is
    a:\extract drive:\cabs\file /L drive:\windows\path
    where drive is the drive on which Windows is installed (typically drive C), path is the destination folder for the extracted file, and file is the file you want to extract.

    Type the following command at the command prompt, making the appropriate substitutions as previously noted, and then press ENTER:
    a:\extract source path\ file /L c:\windows\command

Properties

Article ID: 129605 - Last Review: September 23, 2011 - Revision: 4.0
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Windows 95
Keywords: 
kbresolve kbhowto kbhowtomaster kbprod2web KB129605
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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