InstallShield Tips and Techniques

January 17, 2012

How to update an InstallShield v6.x CAB file

Filed under: Reference Materials — shieldmaster @ 12:46 am

Let’s step back in time – before Windows Installer, and setups had no special security issues. In this situation I had to modify an existing installation – essentially frozen with no ability to recreate the application setup. I needed to replace an executable with a newer version, but leave intact the ability for the setup to work properly.

The CAB file associated with InstallShield v6x does not use the same Zip/Archive technique as PKZip or Microsoft. Consequently you cannot modify a CAB file unless you use the special batch command line tools provided by InstallShield.


ISCab.exe – command line tool used to add/modify/delete files

ISCabVu.exe – GUI tool used to view contents of a CAB file



  • Create a INI file listing of the CAB contents

We need to use the ISCab.exe in batch mode to create an INI file of the existing CAB file. Note we are only going to specify the DATA1.CAB – all other CAB files (Data2/Data3, ect) will be included in the INI file.


  • Modify the INI file listing to reflect the revised or new files

Clone the output INI file from Step #1 and modify it. Look for all occurrences of the file we need to replace (in this sample it is “Archiver.exe”. To add or replace a file, we will use the same convention. Identify the File Group and signify which file is to be added. Here is a sample of Archiver.exe which was found in only one location.


[ISCAB Info]








  • Update the CAB contents

We need to use the ISCab.exe in batch mode to read the modified INI file and point to the CAB file we want to update.. Note the tool is relative stupid – we need to store the new/replacement files in the same directory as the ISCab.exe. The CAB will be updated in place – so copy it elsewhere if needed.


  • Verify the CAB has been successfully changed

There are two methods we need to verify that the change was successful”

  • Run step #1 again and specify a different output INI name. Use this to compare against the original INI – very that all of the other files are still within the CAB. The match should be perfect if you are replacing a file.
  • Use the GUI CAB viewer “ISCabVu.exe” (in Expert Mode) to open up the DATA1.CAB that was modified. Using the File Group, look for the file with an altered TimeStamp and size. Sometimes the Version number does not get reflected. You can Extract the File to compare the file more closely.


Sample Batch Command file

The contents are from the file “AlterCab.bat” in which I have demonstrated how to handle CAB modification with the same revised executable “Archiver.exe”

REM ************************************************

REM ** Replacing Files in INSTALLSHIELD v6.x CAB

REM ** These are notes on how to replace individual

REM ** files within an InstallShield v6.x CAB file

REM ** Remember, only deal with DATA1.CAB – other cab

REM ** files (Data2, Data3) are handled when you

REM ** change

REM ************************************************


REM ************************************************

REM ** First need to obtain INI listing of CAB

REM ************************************************

REM “c:\Archiver781_HotFix\iscab.exe” “c:\Archiver781_HotFix\Setups\DVD2 – Recorder\” -i”Recorder_Witness_datacab.ini” -lx


REM ************************************************

REM ** Clone INI file “Datacab.ini” and only

REM ** leave in the entry for files to be replaced

REM ** The new files should be in the same directory

REM ** as the ISCAB.exe file..

REM ************************************************

REM “c:\Archiver781_HotFix\iscab.exe” “c:\Archiver781_HotFix\Setups\DVD2 – Recorder\” -i”Revised_Recorder_Witness_datacab.ini” -a


REM ************************************************

REM ** To ensure correct updating, obtain another

REM ** INI listing of CAB after replacement and

REM ** use Text Compare tool to verify all files

REM ************************************************

REM “c:\Archiver781_HotFix\iscab.exe” “c:\Archiver781_HotFix\Setups\DVD2 – Recorder\” -i”AfterRevised_Recorder_Witness_datacab.ini” -lx


REM ************************************************

REM ** To ensure correct updating of the File Size

REM ** and timestamp, you need to use ISCabVu.exe

REM ** (in Expert Mode)to view the

REM ** contents to verify the files changed

REM ************************************************







  1. Hi. I took a look at your blog, and I’m wondering if you can help me with something. I have an InstallShield installer for a program called Rollback RX, it is a system restore software that allows you to take multiple system snapshots, and revert to any of them in the event of a crash etc. But I’m also dualbooting with Windows Server 2012, and the installer refused to let me install it, says it wont install install on Server, This is a load of BS, I bought a copy of this for Windows 8 and it works great. They have a server edition license as well but it’s costly. I know about using Orca MSI Editor to edit installer msi files, but this app doesnt appear to install via the msi method. I’m hoping there’s a way I can trick the installer. I’ll check back on this page later to see if you’ve responded. Thanks!

    Comment by Steve H. — October 13, 2013 @ 9:24 am

    • There are many installers that don’t create MSI’s – you might have one of those. An example is Apache Tomcat uses an installer called NSIS (NullSoft). I would attempt to determine the tool used and use that knowledge to leverage some information.


      Comment by shieldmaster — October 13, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

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