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Expand Command-Line Options

Expand.exe expands one or more compressed update files. Expand.exe supports opening updates for Windows Vista as well as previous versions of Windows. By using Expand, you can open and examine updates for Windows Vista on a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 operating system.

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

Windows Vista uses 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 OPK to open the Windows Vista update.
  • The update utilizes Intra-Package Delta (IPD) compression technology.

Expand.exe for Windows Vista supports expanding files in IPD-compressed updates for inspection. You must use the Expand.exe version released with the Windows OPK or the Windows Vista operating system. 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.exe is also available in Windows Vista.

Expand Command-Line Options

Expand.exe uses the following conventions.

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

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 ?).

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 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>