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How to make missing Cabinet files

I have been asked so many times by so many people if I would email them a Windows cabinet file that they are missing. So I decided to tell everyone how to make one. I think all of you will be interested in this process. If nothing else, you will learn how the Windows installation works.

Windows 9x and ME use cabinet files (.cab) to install Windows from. Windows NT, 2000, XP and 2003 use compressed files. Vista use an image file.

Cabinet files are all in sequential number order, such as: Precopy1, Base2, Base3, Net4, Catalog5, Win98_06, etc., up to any number. The ending number varies from one computer manufacturer to another. If you have a MS Windows installation CD it may go up to #22 for Windows and Dells' may go to #68. If you are missing any cabinet files in between, then the installation of Windows may fail, so you will need to create the missing cabinet file.

The first thing you want to do is to extract the file Layout.inf from the Precopy1.cab file. You can view this file using Notepad. In Layout.inf you will find all the cabinet files that are required for your Windows installation, under the section "SourceDisksNames". Below this you will find the section "SourceDisksFiles". The SourceDisksFiles section will tell you what files are in what cabinet file.

So let's say you are missing cabinet file #20, scroll down the layout.inf file until you see a file name=20 (i.e. mmsw.txt=20,,84). The file name here is mmsw.txt and it is in cabinet #20, and it is 84 bytes.

Now search your hard drive for this file (mmsw.txt), and copy it to an empty folder, let's name the new empty folder Cabfiles. Repeat this process until all the files that belong in cabinet #20 are there. If you cannot find a file on your hard drive then you probably will not need to include the file in your new cabinet file. Since it is not needed now, Windows should not need to look for it when it reinstalls Windows on your computer.

Now you need to obtain the file Cabarc.exe. This program is packaged with our System Sentry , which you can download from our site, or do a search at Microsoft. Place the file in a folder of your choice other than Cabfiles. Now open Notepad (the tool of choice) and add the line "cabarc n Win20.cab c:\Cabfiles\*", without the quotes. Save the file as a bat file to the CabFiles folder, possibly as Cabarc.bat and close Notepad. Double click on the bat file and it will create a cabinet file Win20.cab in the same folder as Cabarc is in. You will need to change Win20.cab in the bat file to whatever cabinet file you are missing.

The process we just used will not create an internal pointer to the next number cabinet file as Microsoft cabinet files do. The internal pointer basically says that this in not the last cabinet file. When Windows gets installed Windows does not need the pointer, Windows installation uses the Layout.inf, layout1.inf, and layout2.inf files to locate the required files it wants to install.


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