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Creating a CAB File

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This section describes creating CAB files for distributing ATL and MFC controls over the Internet. If you need more information about CAB files, see the Cabinet File Reference in the Windows SDK documentation (in MSDN Library/Setup and System Administration/Setup/Setup API/Overview/Cabinet Files).

To create a CAB file:

  1. Create an INF file.

  2. Run the CABARC utility.

The INF file is a text file that specifies the files (such as DLLs or other OCXs) that need to be present or downloaded for your control to run. An INF file allows you to bundle all the needed files in one compressed CAB file. By default, files with the same version numbers as existing files on the user's hard disk will not be downloaded. For more information about INF files and their options, including how to create platform-independent INF files, see About INF Files and Using INF Files in the Windows SDK documentation (in MSDN Library/Setup and System Administration/Setup/Setup API/Overview/Setup Applications).

As an example, the following INF will be used to create a CAB file for the ATL Polygon control. You can build POLYGON.DLL by downloading the ATL POLYGON sample files from the Visual C++ CD and building a MinSize version. If you build a MinSize version of the Polygon control, you need one additional DLL, ATL.DLL. Since ATL.DLL needs to be registered before POLYGON.DLL, put the ATL.DLL first in the INF file:

; Sample INF file for POLYGON.DLL
; version signature (same for both NT and Windows 95) do not remove


; needed DLL

; end of INF file

This INF specifies that ATL.DLL with the given version needs to be installed on the system. If ATL.DLL doesn't exist already on the system, it will be downloaded from the CAB file created with this INF. "thiscab" is a keyword meaning the CAB containing this INF. You can also download a needed DLL from an HTTP location by specifying an absolute or relative path, for example:


The keyword "file-win32-x86" identifies the platform as x86 specific.

You can get the version number of a file by clicking the right mouse button on the file in Windows Explorer. Select Properties from the list that appears, then select the Version tab on the dialog box that appears. You will sometimes need to insert an extra 0 in the file version. For example, the version number for the ATL.DLL is shown as 2.00.7024 in the dialog box. This becomes 2, 00, 0, 7024 in the INF file.

The "DestDir" is where the directory where the file will be loaded: 11 specifies the system directory WINDOWS/SYSTEM or WINNT/SYSTEM32; 10 specifies the windows directory, WINDOWS or WINNT. If no DestDir is specified (typical case), code is installed in the fixed OCCACHE directory.

The "clsid" is the CLSID of the control to be installed.

Once you have created an INF file, run the CABARC utility (available in the Mssdk\Bin directory) to create the CAB file. You should run CABARC in the directory that contains your source files. On the command line, put the source files in the order they appear in the INF and the INF file last. For example, to make a CAB file for the Polygon control from the INF above, use the following command:


The POLYGON.CAB file contains a compressed version of ATL.DLL and POLYGON.DLL along with the information needed to extract them in the POLYGON.INF file.

The DLL files you need to include with an MFC control are MSVCRT.DLL, MFC42.DLL, and OLEPRO32.DLL.

The CABARC utility is available in the Mssdk\Bin directory. For example:


CABARC creates a CAB file called MYCTL.CAB.

You should run CABARC in the directory that contains your source files (the INF, OCX, and DLL files). The files to be archived in the CAB file should be listed on the command line in the same order they are listed in the INF file. In the example above, the INF file should list NEEDED1.DLL first, then NEEDED2.DLL, and then MYCTL.OCX.

The -s option reserves space in the cabinet for code signing. The n command specifies that you want to create a CAB file. For a list of CABARC commands and options, type CABARC alone on the command line: