What Is an MSI File?

What Is an MSI File?

How to Open, Edit, and Transform MSI Files

A file with the.MSI file extension is a Windows Installer Package file. It’s used by some versions of Windows when installing updates from Windows Update, along with by third-party installer tools.

An MSI file holds all the info necessary for setting up the software, consisting of the files that need to be installed and where on the computer system those files must be installed to.

” MSI” initially stood for the title of the program that works with this format, which was Microsoft Installer. However, the name has actually since altered to Windows Installer, so the file format is now the Windows Installer Package file format.

MSU files are similar but are Windows Vista Update Package files used by Windows Update on some variations of Windows, and installed by the Windows Update Standalone Installer (Wusa.exe).

How to Open MSI Files

Windows Installer is what the Windows os uses to open MSI files when they’re double-clicked. This does not require to be set up to your computer system or downloaded from anywhere due to the fact that it’s built-in to Windows. Just opening the MSI file should invoke Windows Installer so you can install the files that are included within it.

MSI files are packed in an archive-like format, so you can actually draw out the contents with a file unzip utility like 7-Zip. If you have that or a similar program installed (most of them work likewise), you can right-click the MSI file and select to open or draw out the file to see all the files that are saved inside.

Using a file unzip tool is likewise helpful if you wish to browse the MSI files on a Mac. Considering that the MSI format is used by Windows, you can’t simply double-click it on a Mac and expect it to open.

Bear in mind that being able to draw out the parts that make up an MSI file does not imply that you can “by hand” install the software application the MSI would do for you instantly.

What Is an MSI File?

How to Convert an MSI File

To convert MSI to ISO is possible just after you draw out the files to a folder. Use a file unzip tool like we described above so that the files can exist in a routine folder structure. Then, with a program like WinCDEmu installed, right-click the folder and select Build an ISO image.

Another alternative is to transform MSI to EXE, which you can do with Ultimate MSI to EXE Converter. The program is extremely basic to use: choose the MSI file and pick where to conserve the EXE file. There aren’t any other options.

Presented in Windows 8 and comparable to MSI, APPX files are app packages that operate on the Windows OS. Go to Microsoft’s website if you require aid converting MSI to APPX. Also, see the tutorial at CodeProject.

How to Edit MSI Files

Modifying MSI files isn’t as straightforward and simple as editing most other file formats like DOCX and XLSX files since it’s not a text format. However, Microsoft does have the Orca program, as part of the Windows Installer SDK, that can be used to modify an MSI file.

You can likewise use Orca in a standalone format without needing the entire SDK. Technipages has a copy here. After you set up Orca, just right-click an MSI file and pick Edit with Orca.

Still Can’t Open Your File?

Offered the variety of file formats out there, and that most of them use a file extension that’s simply 3 letters long, it would make sense that numerous would use a few of the same letters. This can get pretty puzzling when they’re spelled practically identically.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to realize that two similarly spelled file extensions does not necessarily imply that the file formats are similar or that they can open with the very same software application. You could have a file that looks an awful lot like the extension states “MSI” but it truly doesn’t.

For example, MIS files are either Marble Blast Gold Mission or Saved Game Mission files used by some computer game, and they have absolutely nothing to do with Windows Installer.

Another is the MSL file extension that belongs to Mapping Specification Language files and Magick Scripting Language files. The previous file type deals with Visual Studio and the latter with ImageMagick, however neither work anything like MSI files.

The bottom line: if your “MSI” file won’t open, make sure you’re really handling an MSI file by double-checking the file extension.

Morris T. Parson, Tech Support

Leading specialist in electronics and engineering. Author of dozens of articles on various topics from the world of hi-tech. Sound independent analysis of products, exploring new niches and global trends is his special passion.

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