Distributing a Service Pack From an Archive File on Windows

This task explains how to install a service pack from an archive file, as an alternative to the traditional methods involving installing the service pack from the CD-ROM or using the StartSPKB command.

What Is an Archive File?

An archive file is a file in compressed format on Windows built by a command provided. The compressed file contains installation files containing differences with respect to an earlier installed level of the same release of the same software configuration. A level can be either a GA or a service pack.

For example, you can build an archive file containing the differences between level V5Rn GA and V5Rn SP2 (even if you installed V5Rn SP1 in between).

Building and Installing the Archive

You first need to install several software levels (belonging to the same release) on the source computer. In our example illustrated below, we installed levels V5Rn GA, V5Rn SP1 and V5Rn SP2, and committed the service packs. On the target computers, only the V5Rn GA level is installed.

You use the CATDeltaInstall command with the appropriate arguments to build the archive. The resulting archive file can then be copied to the target computer and decompressed using platform-specific tools. For  example, you need the Microsoft CabArc.exe utility which can be downloaded from:


The installation files from the archive file then overwrite the installation files on the target computer.

The advantages of this type of installation are:
  • an archive file is smaller than a service pack on a CD-ROM, therefore the installation is more rapid
  • you can copy an archive file to other computers on your network and automate the installation of the archive using a method of choice.
Note that installing a service pack from an archive file always commits the service pack automatically. Make sure that the previously installed service packs on the target computer have been committed before installing the archive. Furthermore, you can only use this method if the configurations/products on both the source and target computers are identical.
The traditional methods of service pack installation and the use of the CATDeltaInstall command are interchangeable: you can install a service pack from a CD-ROM, then install another service pack from an archive file.

Installation Procedure

1. Log on as an administrator onto the source computer.

You must belong to the Administrators group, or have the privileges assigned to the Administrators group. Otherwise, you will not be able to install the different levels on the source computer.

2.  Perform, for example, the following installations:

  • install V5Rn GA
  • install V5Rn SP1 then commit the service pack
  • install V5Rn SP2 then commit the service pack.
3.  On Windows, open a Command Prompt window and go to the following directory:

C:\Program Files\Dassault Systemes\B0n\intel_a\code\bin (Windows XP Pro)
C:\Program Files\Dassault Systemes\B0n\win_b64\code\bin (64-bit code on Windows XP Professional x64 Edition)
C:\Program Files (x86)\Dassault Systemes\B0n\intel_a\code\bin (32-bit code on Windows XP Professional x64 Edition)

where "B0n" is the level V5Rn.

4.  To build an archive file based on the differences between the V5Rn GA and V5Rn SP2 levels, for example, run the CATDeltaInstall command as follows, for example on 32-bit Windows XP Pro:

CATDeltaInstall -s 0 -d "C:\Program Files\Dassault Systemes\B0n\intel_a" -a E:\users\MyUser\MyArchiveFile

The full command syntax is:

CATDeltaInstall -s PreviousServicePackNumber [-d InstallationDirectory] 
[-l|-a ArchiveFile] [-h]

  • -sprevious level number: the level can be either a service pack or the GA level for the same release; 
    0 = GA, 1 = service pack 1, 2 = service pack 2, etc.; the default is 0.
    A service pack must have been correctly installed if you intend to build an archive based on the differences between this service pack and another level. For example, if you installed only the V5Rn GA and V5Rn SP2 levels, you cannot specify "-s 1" as an argument (because you did not install the V5Rn SP1 level).
  • -d: Installation directory; when the command is run from the installation directory, this argument is not required
  • -l: only lists the files which are different between the two installation levels; this list can be used to build a different type of archive (for example, WinZip)
  • -a: builds an archive file with the specified name (requires the CabArc utility)
  • -h: help.

Note that there are two distinct operating modes:

  • build an archive file (using the "-a" argument)
  • only list the files which are different between the two installation levels (using the "-l" argument)

On Windows, the archive file compression is handled automatically thanks to the cabarc format.

The service pack installed your computer, and used as the basis for comparison with a previous level, must be committed beforehand. If not, the CATDeltaInstall command will not operate.
5.  Copy the archive file to a target computer on which you want to install the same service pack level.

Keep in mind that the target computer must be running the same Version 5 configuration/products as the source computer on which the archive file was built.

6.  Stop all running Version 5 processes on the target computer before proceeding.

7. Install the archive using the following command, for example on 32-bit Windows XP Pro:

cabarc -p -o X E:\users\MyUser\MyArchiveFile "C:\Program Files\Dassault Systemes\B0n\"

8. Start a session to check the service pack has been correctly installed.