Other Sources of Windows Installer Information

The Windows Installer SDK contains the most complete and current descriptions of the application programming interface (API) and the elements of the Installer database. It is the primary source of developer reference material for the Windows Installer.

The following supplemental information sources may also be helpful to software developers and IT professionals who use the Windows Installer.

Windows Developer Center

You can check the Windows Developer Center for information about using Windows Installer when building applications for Windows.

Windows Installer Newsgroups

You can read and post to a newsgroup that discusses the Windows Installer. Past newsgroup messages can be searched.

Microsoft Technical Communities provides access to public newsgroups about Windows Installer:

  • Microsoft Public Newsgroups

    You can search the available public newsgroups for Windows developer discussions about the Windows SDK and MSI.

Windows Installer Team Blog

You can read commentary by Microsoft Bloggers on the MSDN blog site.

Read blogs by developers about the Windows Installer.

Windows Installer Technical Chats

You can participate in live MSDN technical chat sessions about the Windows Installer:

  • Technical Chats

    Experts from the Windows Installer team at Microsoft answer questions you ask about Windows Installer.

TechNet Articles and Newsgroups

You can search Technet for articles and newsgroups about the Windows Installer:

Knowledge Base Articles

You can search the Knowledge Base (KB) for articles about the Windows Installer:

White Papers

You can read white papers that describe the Windows Installer:

Online Windows Installer SDK

You can read about Windows Installer online:

Orca Documentation

Orca is a GUI .msi file editor that is provided with the Windows Installer SDK. It provides full access to the Windows Installer database tables.

A set of Help files are provided with Orca. To obtain the orca.exe and Orca documentation you must download and install the Windows Installer SDK, which is provided as an Orca.msi file. After you install the Microsoft Windows Software Development Kit (SDK), double click the Orca.msi file to install Orca.


It is not possible to download Orca separately.


Although Orca provides access to all features of the Windows Installer, it is not intended to replace a fully featured package-authoring environment. In many cases, it is easier to create a Windows Installer installation for an application by using one of the commercial package-creation tools available from independent software vendors.

Windows Installer Software Vendors

You can contact an independent software vendor about tools to create a Windows Installer package for an application. These tools can provide a package authoring environment that may be easier to use than the tools provided in the Windows Installer SDK.

Helpful Windows Installer Sites on the Web

You can visit non-Microsoft Web sites that provide useful information about the Windows Installer. The following list identifies some of those sites: