Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio
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There are quite a few good tools and resources for MSI setup creation and debugging in the Platform SDK. I figured I'd list the ones I use most often, and I would really like to know what everyone else uses and if there are any holes in that you've found where new tools are needed.....
Descriptions for all of the tools in the PSDK can all be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en-us/msi/setup/windows_installer_development_tools.asp by the way....
Stuff I used every day when I worked on the VS and .NET Framework setup team:
Stuff I found very useful though I didn't need to use them daily:
There is a log analyzer tool on the site (wilogutl) that can help narrow down failures in your setup - it can be especially useful for verbose logs for large products such as Visual Studio (those logs are 40+ megs....) I usually take shortcuts before I use that tool though, most of the errors can be found by searching for “return value 3“ in your MSI verbose log file. This doesn't work for non-English products because that string is translated, and it also relies on the setup author to log useful information for things like custom actions that may end up failing.
The other tools on the PSDK site sound like they'd be very useful as well but I don't have first-hand experience with them.
What other stuff is out there that folks are using? What stuff is missing that needs to be written in this space? Thoughts?