MSI is an Installation technology developed by Microsoft.
MSI stands for "Microsoft Installer" (Which was later renamed by Microsoft to "Windows Installer").
MSI is available by default in the following Windows versions: WinME, Win2000, WinXP, Win2003, Vista, Windows7, Windows8 & Windows8.1.
It is also available as a free download from the Microsoft website for earlier versions of Windows.
MSI Files can be edited using any MSI database editor like .
SuperOrca from Pantaray Research or "Orca" from Microsoft.
QSetup Installation Suite - MSI support
From now you can use QSetup as your favorite MSI Editor.
QSetup Installation Suite is now able to produce setup files in the form of an MSI file as well as a traditional EXE file.
The user interface of the new version is similar to our traditional EXE-only versions, thus you can easily
compile MSI setup files from your existing setup projects.
Also you can decide at anytime whether to generate an EXE or MSI installation.
MSI is mainly required by IT professionals in large organizations. For the IT professional the MSI format
offers the following benefits:
- Self healing - If a program was damaged on the end-user's desktop, the user can rerun the original MSI setup file to initiate an automatic repair process.
- MSI files can be distributed to many desktops in an organization using "Active Directory".
- MSI file can be installed by a user who does not have administrative privileges.
- Using an MSI Editor, or msi package builder an IT professional can modify an MSI file and adjust it to his organization's requirements before distribution to end users.
- The MSI Format supports a rollback function which will restore your PC to it's original state if the setup process was interrupted.
Producing an MSI file
To produce an MSI file using QSetup MSI Editor use the following procedure.
- Define a setup using some or all of the pages of the composer.
- Goto the Bottom/Right of the Composer screen and select "MSI" in the selection box.
- Click the [Compile] button.
As a result of this sequence of operations you will have a distribution file (Media File) with an
MSI extension in the "Project Directory".
Click the [Run] button to launch the MSI file you just compiled.
Click the [Upload] button to upload the MSI file you just compiled to the web.
IMPORTANT - using the same setup definitions you can easily produce a classic "Self Extract"
setup in the form of an EXE file. Just select "EXE" in the selection box and click [Compile].
IMPORTANT - If you want to reinstall an MSI setup you must first uninstall it.
You can uninstall the old setup from the Windows "Add/Remove programs" dialog.
MSI vs EXE
Due to some limitations of the Microsoft MSI standard, not all of the features that are currently
supported by the QSetup EXE format are available in the MSI format.
We hope to add more functionality to our MSI implementation in future versions,
however some features can not be implemented since the MSI format will not allow them.
The following list summarizes the features that are not available in QSetup MSI implementation:
- Language Support
- Compression Level
- Create Split Setup
- Display page is not implemented
- Exclusivity Tag
- Include Group by Setup Number
- Overwrite Files & Remove Directories are handles according to MSI policies.
- Add Image
- Show Progress Bar #2
- Perform Silent & Hidden Setup
- CD Setup
- Show Compact Setup Also
- Force Partial Setup
- Custom Dialogs
- Create Setup.log File
- Request Confirmation Before Extract
- Previous Installation (Handled by MSI).
- Test for running executable.
- Run/Run Once.
- Auto Run Test.
- Language Support.
- Selected by End User.
- Properties Page is not implemented
- Execute Engine is not implemented
- Billboard in not implemented
- Auto Update is not implemented
- UnInstall is handled by MSI, as a result only few of the parameters in the uninstall page are valid also for MSI.
SuperOrca - MSI Database Editor
Some professionals using the MSI methodology don't need a software setup program, and want to reach the MSI Database directly.
For those, we developed the SuperOrca Editor. SuperOrca is a direct substitude for Microdoft's "Orca" MSI Editor.
SuperOrca may be used to examine and modify an MSI database as well as an MSI installer program.
SuperOrca version 11.X is distributed free of charge to the software development and IT community.