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  • Blog Post: Integration Hurdles for EXE Custom Actions

    A while back, two sets of engineers were arguing whether simply calling an EXE custom action would be good enough for Windows Installer based package. The first team with the EXE didn't want to do the work to move to Windows Installer but they really wanted the second team to take a dependency. The team...
  • Blog Post: A starting point for Windows Installer 4.5 embedded UI?

    A few questions have come in asking for a starting point for building a Windows Installer 4.5 Embedded UI. Feature Design As we put together the ideas behind the Embedded UI features, we aspired to provide a simple extension off the preexisting features in the Windows Installer platform. ...
  • Blog Post: Arbitrary labels used as Primary keys must not be changed between versions

    Summary Msi Editing tools that write auto generated references inside installer tables may cause unnecessary content to be included inside a patch. ‘Patching’ components with unchanged content may cause them to be uninstalled when the patch is removed thereby breaking the original application. ...
  • Blog Post: Windows Installer and Restart Manager: MSI Files-In-Use V2

    Introduction Files-In-Use functionality is among the countless services that Windows Installer exposes for setup authors to leverage for their application install/maintenance. This functionality lets setup authors display the processes that hold on to files that would be updated by this install. The...
  • Blog Post: Restart Manager video available on Channel 9

    Hello everyone -- As many of you know, one of the great new features Windows Installer supports on Windows Vista is Restart Manager. I just ran across a video on Channel 9 that provides a lot of good information on how to make your application "Restart Manager Aware." Good viewing if you are planning...
  • Blog Post: Check out the UAC video on Channel 9

    Channel 9 did an interview with Steve Hiskey and Jon Schwartz on the UAC team. Check out the video here if you want to learn more about UAC. [Author: Tyler Robinson] This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. Use of included script samples are subject to the...
  • Blog Post: Windows Installer Troubleshooting Tips from First Week of November

    Question 1 What is the correct way to find whether a certain product (msi based setup) is installed on the machine? Answer 1 Searching for Existing Applications, Files, Registry Entries or .ini File Entries [Windows Installer] lists the built-in detect methods. In this case, the CompLocator...
  • Blog Post: Windows Installer Troubleshooting Tips From Halloween

    Question 1 In my lab automation that silently installs Windows Installer packages. This automation is inconsistently getting Error 1618 from its msiexec calls. Please help unblock this scenario as it's inhibiting our push to ship. Troubleshooting 1 First, start with the MSDN Library and run a search...
  • Blog Post: Authoring to Windows Installer 4.0 Features mentioned at PDC 2005

    As Tyler recently mentioned , you can find the Professional Developers Conference 2005 session and presentation of the Windows Installer 4.0. Here's a preliminary view of how to author to these features. Note: This documentation is preliminary and is subject to change. Restart Manager Support As...
  • Blog Post: How do I get the Escape key to work on a Windows Installer dialog?

    Question How do I get the Escape key to work on a Windows Installer dialog? Answer Edit the Dialog table , go to the record that contains the dialog and enter your No/Cancel button's key (Name field in Control table ) into the Control_Cancel field. [Author: Robert Flaming ] This posting...
  • Blog Post: Advertising and ARPSYSTEMCOMPONENT

    Scenario On Windows XP, I am advertising an MSI that has ARPSYSTEMCOMPONENT set to 1 but it appears in ARP anyway. Is this by design? Is there a workaround Indeed, once I fault in the product, the ARP entry goes away. There’s not much to see in the MSI. Just set the property and run an advertisement...
  • Blog Post: What are the limits for a large MSI package?

    MSI MVP Stefan Krueger posted a excellent response to the question "What are the limits for a large MSI package?" in a FAQ entry at InstallSite.org Thanks for the hard work Stefan ;^)
  • Blog Post: Our patches seem to work fine, yet none of the files on the disk are replaced.

    Question I am seeing a very strange issue with patches on msi 2.0, our patches seem to work fine, yet none of the files on the disk are replaced. I tried regenerating the patches with the 2.0 toolset , but that did not help. Answer For MSI20 Patches, you will need to pass property REINSTALL...
  • Blog Post: Best Practice Guidelines for Building Quality Installs: Part 1, the Basics

    This is the first in a series of Best Practice Guidelines for Building Quality Installs . Let's start with the basics of quality Windows Installer (MSI) package. Prior postings the series: Introduction . Build Components According to Component Rules To ensure that the installation or removal of...
  • Blog Post: Why can't I patch or uninstall a component without a ComponentId?

    Question Why can't I patch or uninstall a component without a ComponentId? Answer Check the Windows Installer documentation on Component Table : ComponentId A string GUID unique to this component, version, and language. Note that the letters of these GUIDs must be uppercase. Utilities such...
  • Blog Post: Recommended Background on Versioning and Component Rules

    To acquire background on Versioning and Component Rules, we recommend Rob Mensching's Background blogs Component Rules 101 Windows Installer Components Introduction. Component Rules The following MSDN topics help folks understand the components rules What happens if the component rules are...
  • Blog Post: How do I find all the Windows Installer packages installed on my machine?

    Question How do I find all the Windows Installer packages installed on my machine? Answer Here’s the APIs and the Properties one would need MsiEnumProducts(DWORD,LPTSTR) function [Windows Installer] MsiEnumProductsEx (8 Parameters) function [Windows Installer] ProductCode Property MsiGetProductInfoEx...
  • Blog Post: What are the upper limits of the CAB file format?

    Question What are the upper limits of the CAB file format? Answer The only compressed file type supported natively by Windows Installer is the Cabinet (CAB) format . Multi-part CABs can get the total size of a set of files past 2GB, possibly to 64K * 2GB, but no one file can exceed 2GB. Maximum...
  • Blog Post: How do I read an environment variable into the MSI?

    Question How do I read an environment variable into the MSI? Answer Check out the MSDN topic Restrictions on Property Names [Windows Installer] which says Property names prefixed with % represent system and user environment variables. Check out the MSDN topic Formatted [Windows Installer...
  • Blog Post: Is it guaranteed that the external user-interface handler gets called by the Installer in the same thread that calling InstallProduct?

    Question Is it guaranteed that the external user-interface handler gets called by the Installer in the same thread that calling InstallProduct? Answer No, in fact they will come from different threads. Content credit also belongs to Ken, MSI Team Dev. You can get other Ken insights...
  • Blog Post: Some Patch Detection Designer Pointers for a MSI Newbie

    Questions MSP Patch detection questions from a MSI newbie: Is there any API which directly consumes the Patch XML Blob and intimates if it is applicable/Installed on the target system as the whole set of information is already available in the XML blob? Do we have to retrieve the target product...
  • Blog Post: Any tips on getting the cancel button working for a deferred custom action?

    Question Any tips on getting the cancel button working for a deferred custom action ? During our MSI uninstallation (full GUI mode), at the beginning of the uninstallation we call a deferred CA. When this CA is executing, if the user clicks the cancel button, the windows installer will pop up the...
  • Blog Post: How to disable advertising?

    Question How to disable advertising? One of the requirements that I've been given is disable Advertise for our product. I'm supposed to implement a "Advertise is not supported" dialog that is displayed when the user tries to install with ACTION=ADVERTISE parameter. Do you have any tips on how...
  • Blog Post: How do detect the MSI version on the computer?

    Question How do detect the MSI version on the computer? Answer Tyler mentioned the following in his blog entry Windows Installer 3.1 Version Confusion If you want to check the version of the Windows Installer on your system, check the version of MSI.DLL in the Windows\System 32 folder. ...
  • Blog Post: Why can't I change the target directory path during a Maintenance Installation?

    Question Why can't I change the target directory path during a Maintenance Installation? This is the last line of Changing the Target Location for a Directory [Windows Installer] where it says Do not attempt to change the target directory path during a Maintenance Installation. Answer Components...
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