There are countless reasons why a user may need to install a driver. Whether they are setting up a new game and require a new graphics library to play it or they are working on a new networking solution for their business, installing drivers in archive form is a common chore. However, the documentation for new software often lacks the basic information required to deflate and install archived drivers. Instead, they simply instruct the user to visit the manufacturer’s website. When they visit the website in question there is usually nothing more than the driver itself to help.
Fortunately for most users of PC platforms, Microsoft has developed a native data compression format for the Microsoft Windows operating system. The task of installing drivers in archive form is a much simpler one when working with drivers that were natively developed for Windows. The Cabinet file, or .CAB format, works with one of three different data compression algorithms. The Cabinet file may be compressed using the DEFLATE system developed by Phil Katz, the Quantum system developed by David Stafford, or the LZX algorithm developed by Jonathan Forbes and Tomi Poutanen.
When an individual is installing drivers in archive form that are compressed via the cabinet file system, they have a choice between two different methods of installing the driver. If one knows in which folder the driver is required to be placed, then it should be a relatively easy task. If the usual Windows environment can be accessed, then using the Windows Explorer interface the cabinet file can be opened like any other folder and the individual driver file can easily be extracted and dragged. Otherwise, the command line utility extract.exe works equally as well.
Digital signatures are generally placed on most cabinet files and other driver libraries, so when installing drivers in archive form many users come across such a signature. When the compress folder is deflated, the Microsoft Windows operating system will notify the user that such a signature exists. These digital signatures are in place so that the user will have an extra level of authority on whether or not the driver file is genuine.
The InstallShield system uses a similar system, and software solutions built around this development platform will assist the user when installing drivers in archive form. In fact, the InstallShield system has expanded significantly outside of the Microsoft Windows market. The InstallShield wizard is offered for the Linux platform, and Sun Microsystems now uses it for the installing Java and NetBeans on Linux equipped computers. By opening up to these new markets, installing drivers in archive form will be a much easier task for Linux users. In fact, due to the way in which Java interacts with hardware, there may be fewer drivers for software solutions developed on the platform. This translates into fewer headaches.
While installing drivers in archive form isn’t nearly as common on mobile devices as it is on actual desktop computers, there is still sometimes a need to do so. Therefore, automatic installer technology has also made its way onto such platforms. Just as it has with Linux based software solutions, the automatic installers on these platforms will serve to speed up and simplify the chore that so many users have dreaded when interfacing new technology. However, no one need ever fear the task of installing drivers in archive form when they’re armed with the appropriate knowledge to handle it.