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A component of Microsoft Windows
Cardfile icon.png
Screenshot of the Windows 3.1 version of Cardfile
Type Personal information manager
Included with Windows 1.0, Windows 2.x, Windows 3.x, Windows NT 3.x, Windows 95
Also available for Windows 98,[1] Windows ME[1]

Cardfile is a personal information manager, based on index cards, that was distributed with Microsoft Windows starting from the original version 1.01 until Windows NT 4.0 Server. Cardfile is also included with Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition, but has to be installed manually from the installation CD-ROM. Beginning with Windows 3.1, Cardfile supported Object Linking and Embedding. The version supplied with Windows NT versions was a 32-bit application with Unicode support. Both later versions could read .crd files created by previous versions.

Localized versions of Windows may have contained Cardfile under other names, for example repert.exe (Répertoire) for the French language Windows.


Cardfile was first released with Windows 1.0 as an application that would allow users to create and flip through index cards containing several lines of free-form text. The original developer was Mark Cliggett[citation needed], represented by his initials MGC as the first three bytes of the original .crd file format.

Windows 3.0 introduced some minor changes to the Cardfile user interface, changing the application's background from blue to white and adding an access bar below the menu, which displays the current view mode (card view or list view) and the number of cards in the file, as well as providing buttons to quickly move to the previous or next cards in order.

With Windows 3.1, Cardfile received a further update, adding OLE support, which allowed content from other OLE-supporting applications to be included within a Cardfile database. At this time, the file format was updated in order to support the new feature, with the file signature changing to RRG to disambiguate the new .crd file format from the earlier one.[2]

Cardfile was also released as a 32-bit accessory for the early versions of Windows NT, using a modification of the Windows 3.1 file format but changing the signature to DKO and the character width for text data to 16 bits in order to support Unicode.

The Windows 3.1 version of Cardfile was included with Windows 95, 98, and ME, but not installed by default. For the later two versions of Windows, the user would have to manually copy the Cardfile application from the Windows install CD in order to use the application.[1]


  • 16-bit (1.01) - File size 36,588 bytes.
  • 16-bit (2.00) - File size 39,440 bytes.
  • 16-bit (3.0) - File size: 53,952 bytes; Date stamp: 10-31-90; Confirmed in: Windows 3.0a, Windows 3.0 MME
  • 16-bit (WLO) - File size: 78,432 bytes; Date stamp: 09-23-91; Confirmed in: WLO 1.0 Note: recompiled from the Windows 3.0 sources to demonstrate the Windows Libraries for OS/2.
  • 16-bit w/ OLE - File size: 93,184 bytes; Date stamp: 12-31-93; Confirmed in: Windows 3.10, 3.11, Windows for Workgroups 3.10, 3.11, Win-OS/2 3.1, Windows 98 SE
  • 32-bit - File size: 101,008 bytes; Date stamp: 05-25-95; Confirmed in: Windows NT 3.10, 3.50, 3.51 (diskette and CD-ROM)
  • 64-bit - File size: 100,966 bytes; Date stamp: Unknown; Confirmed in: Never officially released
  • DEC Alpha - File size 148,240 bytes; Date stamp; 05-25-95; Confirmed; in Windows NT 3.51
  • MIPS - File size 156,432 bytes; Date stamp; 05-25-95; Confirmed; Windows NT 3.51
  • PPC - File size 171,280; Date stamp 05-25-95; Confirmed Windows NT 3.51


Microsoft never released a program to replace Cardfile following the discontinuation of its development. However, Schedule+, which appeared with Windows 95, and Outlook Express, which appeared with Windows 98, have built-in contact managers which can replace Cardfile's use as a contact manager. Schedule+ also had the ability to import Cardfile .crd files through its Import/Export Add-on pack.

Third party applications exist which support opening and/or modification of Cardfile files for Linux.[3]

Running under later Windows versions

The 16-bit Windows 3.1 version of Cardfile (file version can run on all x86-based 32-bit versions of Windows including Windows 7 32-bit. Version was included on the Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition installation CD but was not installed by default.[1]

In 64-bit versions of Windows, the 32-bit version from Windows NT 3.51 has to be used. It supports long file names and has some support for Unicode characters. According to Microsoft Knowledge Base article Q99340, the cards are specifically designed to hold 450 2-byte Unicode characters. Until Unicode 3 (released long after Windows NT 3.51), all Unicode characters fit into the basic multilingual plane and many operating systems (such as NT and NeXT) assumed that one Unicode character was equivalent to two bytes, but this assumption is now wrong. Therefore, users of the NT 3.51 version of Cardfile on newer versions of Windows will encounter Unicode bugs and these bugs cannot be fixed due to the way the file format was defined.


  1. ^ a b c d "How to enable the Cardfile program in Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition". Support. Microsoft. January 25, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Windows 3.1 Card File Format". Support. Microsoft. October 30, 2003. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
  3. ^ Menard, Cam. "Linux Cardfile Applet". Retrieved 14 March 2015. 

External links

  • "OL97: Converting Windows Cardfile Files to Outlook". Support. Microsoft. January 19, 2007. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved March 14, 2015. 
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