How to make changes to CAB file – without an .INF file

I was developing a few themes for Standard and Professional devices (using the Windows Phone Custom Theme Generator tool to get me started) and found that when installing the CAB on Standard devices, I would get the following error:

The program you have installed may not display properly because it was designed for a previous version of Windows Mobile software.

Normally to fix this error, you would edit the .INF file and add BuildMax=0xE0000000 to the CEDevice section as follows (See here for explanation of BuildMax):

VersionMin = 3.0
VersionMax = 100.0

In this case, I did not have an .INF file since the CAB was generated by the Theme Generator. Doing a Bing search, I found a great tool (Benoit Thonnart’s MSCEInf) that helps with the process of creating a .INF file from a CAB file and extracting files from the CAB with the true filenames. Using this tool, I created the .INF file, edited it, and then recreated the CAB file using the .INF file and CABWIZ.EXE. MSCEinf’s feature of extracting the true filename saves a lot of time, saving you the drudgery of renaming the files, as specified in the _setup.xml file, by hand.  (When CABWIZ creates the CAB, it converts the filenames to 8.3 names).

Step-by-Step guide:

  • Create dedicated destination directory.
  • Copy MSCEInfEn to this directory.
  • Create .INF file. 
    • Start MSCEInfEn.EXE
      • Open the CAB file
      • Click on the icon in upper left, ‘Save INF File rebuilt’ to save .INF file.
  • Extract files from CAB, using the true filenames
    • Using MSCEInfEn,  turn Off ‘Use Folders’
      • Click 5th button from left ‘Extract Filenames’ (should see icon with red X through it).
    • Using MSCEInfEn,  extract files
      • Click 4th button from left ‘Extract CAB files with original names in a folder’.
      • Click ‘Extract’ and select the destination directory.
  • At this point you should have the files of your theme / application and the .INF file in the destination directory.
  • Modify .INF file
    • Open .INF file saved in Step 1 and add the following line below [CEStrings]
      • [CEDevice]
    • Save .INF file
  • Rebuild CAB file.
    • Start a Command Line. (Start | Run | cmd)
    • Change to the destination directory.
    • Using CABWIZ.EXE recreate the cab file with the following command:
      • Cabwiz <filename>.inf
      • You may see a warning regarding AddReg, this can be ignored.
  • Test the CAB file.