Tips and Expert Advice on MSI Packages Creation

This site is a collection of articles and tips about Windows Installer technology. Here you can learn how to create MSI packages, how to customize them and how to convert legacy installations into MSI format.

Articles below explain what is MSI package, what does it include and how does it work. By reading these articles you can understand why MSI packages are now considered as a standard for Windows installations and what advantages they have comparing with legacy executable installations. Also you can learn about tools and approaches used to create MSI packages, and understand their advantages and disadvantages.

What is the Windows Installer MSI Package

Windows Installer is a Windows technology that is created for software installation management, tracking software components additions and deletions, and ensuring software configuration consistency at any moment of time. This technology consists of two parts - installer service (msiexec.exe) that is part of the operation system and Microsoft Software Installation (MSI) packages. Installer service manages installation, modification and uninstallation of MSI packages on a computer.  More

How to Create an MSI Package

MSI package is the installation in the Windows Installer format. It is similar to other installation types and includes installation resources and is designed to manage these resources in scope of deployment process. For example, it can create a folder and copy application files to this folder, register DLL libraries, create shortcuts and so on. Windows Installer technology defines a standard for MSI files, so all created MSI packages should follow this standard in order to being installed through Windows Installer. More

How to Create MSI from EXE Installation

Repackaging of EXE installations into MSI format is required when you need to make an automatic software deployment across the network or customize existing third-party installations. MSI packages support silent installation mode, required for centralized remote deployment, and can be installed by standard software deployment tools. Most of legacy installations in EXE format couldn't be installed in a silent mode and aren't ready for remote deployment, so they have to be repackaged into MSI packages. More