Aaron Stebner's WebLog

Thoughts about setup and deployment issues, WiX, XNA, the .NET Framework and Visual Studio

Finding Windows Installer help documentation (AKA where did MSI.chm go?)

Finding Windows Installer help documentation (AKA where did MSI.chm go?)

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I received an email yesterday from an individual who had just installed the latest Windows Installer Platform SDK and had read a previous blog post that I wrote about using msi.chm for Windows Installer help information, but was unable to find msi.chm on his system.  I took a look on our internal products server and couldn't find msi.chm there either, so I decided to go to the Platform SDK site and figure out what was going on.  What I found is that I was basing the information in that blog entry about msi.chm on what appears to be an older version of the Platform SDK that I had downloaded a while ago and then just copied msi.chm off to a separate location.

I tried out a new download of the Windows Installer part of the Platform SDK, and it appears they have re-organized the help documentation for the entire SDK.  Instead of having standalone CHM files for each product in the SDK, there is now a unified Platform SDK help collection and each individual product plugs in and registers an HXS (compiled help) file.

So what I had to do was launch the Platform SDK Documentation link on the Start menu after installation of the SDK.  From there I was able to use the index and search that I normally use in my old copy of msi.chm, and as an added bonus there are updated topics for Windows Installer 3.0 and some of the incorrect info in my old version of msi.chm have been fixed.

Sorry for any confusion I created in my original post....


  • I have installed far cry the frist game and received error code 1603 my computer has windows 7 and I have played this game on my old comp with xp with no problems. the game loades but the video runs incomplete, no grass or paths show, but buildings and people are complete and action is normal, because of this 1603 error message I cant uninstall the far cry program to reinstall

  • Hi John - You can use steps like the ones at blogs.msdn.com/.../487096.aspx to manually uninstall a product that fails to uninstall normally.

    If you uninstall and re-install and still see a 1603 error during installation, then you'll likely need to search on the web site for the manufacturer of the game to see if they have any known issues or workarounds to help you install the game.

  • Amigos nao consigo instalar o jogo far cry 1 quando to acabando a instalaçao ele dar o erro 1603 fatal error during installation

    consult windows installer help (Msi.chm) or MSDN for more information. e galera o que eu faço? me ajudem :(

  • Hi Queven Santiago - You can use steps like the ones listed at blogs.msdn.com/.../help-me-help-you-if-you-have-setup-bugs.aspx to create a verbose log file for the failing install, zip it and post it to a file server.  If you do that and send me a link, I can download it and take a look to try to figure out what is causing the installation to fail.

  • It is curious that the type library embedded in Windows 7's amd64 binary for msi.dll still references msi.chm.  (Honestly, I rather miss the chm files.  (The viewer did leave something to be desired, though -- multiple tabs, say, and a few more toolbar items without the help or application authors having to ask for them ...)

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