Archive for the ‘Windows Installer’ Category

Windows Installer

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

What is Windows Installer

The Windows Installer (Microsoft Installer) is an engine for the installation, maintenance, and removal of software on Microsoft Windows operating systems. The installation packages are commonly known as MSI files, from their default file extension “.msi”. In a msi file, the installation finformation, and often the files themselves are packaged.

Microsoft encourages third parties to use Windows Installer as the basis for installation frameworks, so that they synchronize correctly with other installers and keep the internal database of installed products consistent.

Windows Installer Update

The latest version of Windows Installer is 4.0, which is shipped with Windows Vista. In this updated Windows installer 4.0, MSI packages can be marked as not requiring elevated priviledges to install, thus allowing a package to install without prompting the user for Administrator credentials.

Windows Registry and Windows Installer

Almost all of the Windows Installer packages (msi files) need to interact with Windows Registry. Internally, Windows Installer uses a Registry table to hold the registry information that the application needs to set in the system registry. The registry information is written out to the system registry when the corresponding component has been selected to be installed locally or run from source.

There are many techniques for a windows installer developer to learn when developing a msi package. For example, if you want to protect an empty registry key from being deleted when being uninstalled, you can  write a dummy value under the key you want to keep and enter a special character “+”  in the Name column. If “*” is in the Name column, the key is deleted, with all of its values and subkeys, when the component is removed. However, not all the current windows installers are using these techniques. As a consequence, after you install and uninstall many softwares on your PC, your Windows registry has a lot of wast registry entries left unused, which will easily cause a Windows Installer Error when you install a new software next time.

Normal Windows Installer Errors

Failed installations are always a pain for everyone. Let’s imagine, you just spent a long while on some new software program and it just won’t install. How frustrating your would feel. Maybe you need to reinstall windows installer to solve this, but sometimes that is not the solution.

Another common windows installer problem is that you cannot successfully uninstall your software program. This is more harmful to your computer than the previous one, because a failure on uninstalling could mean a large amount of messy information are left on your computer that you will be ale to do nothing about. You will be able to delete all the files related to this application, but you just can do nothing about the garbage left in the windows Registry.

Along with the time, once you start to get windows installer error, you will get more windows installer failures; and the more windows install failures you get, the more the problem compounds. Windows Registry is not only hosting the Windows installer information, it also have the information for spyware, disabled drivers, activeX controls, and a whole bunch of other offenders. Before you know it, you have a major problem now.

Windows Installer Repair

One of the best practices of avoiding windows installer problems is to always use the latest version of windows installer. You can always get the latest version from Microsoft’s official site However, even you are using the newest windows installer, the windows installer problem may still happen due to the garbage left in the windows registry.

The best way to repair Windows Installer and keep your PC in a good shape is to use a professional registry clean & optimize software, such as RegCure PC Optimizer. Registry cleaner will always keep your windows registry clean and well organized, and that in turn eliminate your chance of getting windows installer errors.