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Expand Command-Line Options

Applies To: Windows 7


This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

Expand.exe expands one or more compressed update files. Expand.exe supports opening updates for Windows® 7 as well as previous versions of Windows. By using Expand.exe, you can open and examine updates for Windows 7 on previous Windows operating systems.

When you view or extract the contents of a product update package (for example, a security patch, a critical update, or an update rollup), the files that are shown or extracted may not include all of the files that are actually updated by the package.

Windows Vista® and Windows 7 use Intra-Package Delta (IPD) compression technology to reduce the size of packages. If you do not use a compression tool that supports IPD to extract the update, the extracted files will look similar to the following output:


This behavior occurs if both of the following conditions exist:

  • You did not use Expand.exe from the Windows OEM Preinstallation Kit (Windows OPK) or Windows Automated Installation Kit (Windows AIK) to open the update.

  • The update utilizes Intra-Package Delta (IPD) compression technology.

Expand.exe for Windows Vista and Windows 7 supports expanding files in IPD-compressed updates for inspection. You must use the Expand.exe version released with the Windows OPK, Windows AIK, or the Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems. Prior versions of Expand.exe do not support extracting IPD-compressed data.

Expand.exe is installed with the Windows OPK or the Windows AIK for use in earlier versions of Windows.

Expand Command-Line Options

Expand.exe uses the following conventions.

expand [-r] source [destination] [-dsource**.cab** [-f:files]] [ [-f:filesdestination] [-i]

Option Description


Renames expanded files.


Specifies where files are to be expanded. If source is multiple files and -r is not specified, destination must be a directory. destination can consist of a drive letter and colon, a directory name, a file name, or a combination of any of these.


Displays a list of files in the source location. Does not expand or extract the files.


Specifies the files in a cabinet (.cab) file that you intend to expand. You can use wildcards (* and ?).


Ignores the directory structure in the .cab file and expands the content as flat files to the destination directory. This command is useful when the cabinet file contains files in nested directories and you want to expand the content to a single directory.

Specifies the files to expand. source can consist of a drive letter and colon, a directory name, a file name, or a combination. You can use wildcards (* and ?).


Displays help at a command prompt.

Using Expand at the Recovery Console

The Expand.exe command, with different parameters, is available from the Recovery Console. The Recovery Console is a command-line interface that provides a limited set of administrative commands for repairing a computer.


The following examples show how to use the Expand.exe tool:

expand [-r] <source> [<destination>]
expand -d <source>.cab [-f:<files>]
expand <source>.cab -f:<files> <destination>

See Also


Command-Line Tools Technical Reference