How to Install ActiveX CAB Files

By Josh Baum

Updated September 28, 2017

You must have an administator rights in Windows to extract and install .Cab files.
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Windows and other Microsoft applications use .Cab files as containers for ActiveX and other important installation files - particularly for Web-based or Internet related components and setup routines. In many cases, Windows can extract and install Active X .Cab files directly from Internet Explorer. However, if you download a .Cab file and want to install it manually, you must expand it before you can do so.

Locate the CAB file on your hard drive and note its file path location (i.e. C:\downloads\"

Press "Windows-E" to launch File Explorer. Browse to the folder where you want to save the extracted .Cab file's contents. Right-click inside the folder window, click "New" and then select "New Folder." Rename the new subfolder to the name of the .Cab file or Active X component.

Press "Window-X," and then click "Command Prompt (Admin)" on the pop-up list.

Type the following command at the command prompt (without the quotes):

"expand C:\downloads\ c:\main_folder\sub_folder_name"

Change "C:\downloads\" and "c:\main_folder\sub_folder_name" to the appropriate source file and destination folder as needed.

Press the "Enter" key and wait a few seconds for Windows to expand the contents of the .Cab file into the destination folder you created.

Press "Windows-E" to open a new File Explorer window. Browse to the new folder you created. Double-click the "install.exe" or "setup.exe" file in the new folder containing the files for the ActiveX control or component.

Follow the on-screen prompts to install the ActiveX control. The installer will use the collection of files stored in the temporary folder to install it. At the end of the process, click the "Finish" button on the installation utility.

Delete the new folder you created, as you no longer need it after installing the Active X control.


Not all ActiveX controls are created and distributed by Microsoft; many are created by third-party publishers. Only install ActiveX files from publishers you trust.