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Working with Setup Information (.inf) Files

An information (.inf) file is a text file that specifies the files that need to be present or downloaded for your component to run on 32-bit versions of Windows. The Internet Component Download service uses these instructions to install and register software components downloaded from the Internet and any files required by the components. The Internet Component Download service has been part of Internet Explorer since version 3.0.

An Internet software distribution unit is a "package" consisting of a cabinet file (.cab) that contains an .inf file. A distribution unit can also contain a software component, such as an ActiveX control (.ocx), a .dll file, an .exe file, a Java class file, or a small program. When a cabinet file that contains an .inf file is referenced by the CODEBASE attribute of an OBJECT element on a Web page, Internet Explorer 3.0 or later automatically treats the cabinet file as a software distribution unit.

With .inf files, you can create customized software installation instructions that include registry entries and destination directories. An .inf file can provide limited platform independence and specify limited software dependencies.

The following topics provide you with more information about working with .inf files:

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