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:
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:
Experts from the Windows Installer team at Microsoft answer questions you ask about Windows Installer.
Transcripts of previous chats about the Windows Installer are archived for you to read at any time.
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:
Search for both Windows Installer and MSI.
You can read white papers that describe the Windows Installer:
- Windows Installer: Benefits and Implementation for System Administrators
- New Features and Design Changes in Windows Installer 2.0
- Using Software Restriction Policies to Protect Against Unauthorized Software
- Patch Sequencing in Windows Installer version 3.0
- Software Installation and Maintenance
- Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Windows Installer Packages and Repackaging Software for the Windows Installer
- Standardizing the Patch Experience
- Delta Compression Application Programming Interface
Online Windows Installer SDK
You can read about Windows Installer online:
You need to download and install the Microsoft Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) to obtain the development tools described in the Windows Installer Development Tools section of the 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:
Windows Installer information for developers.
Windows Installer information for IT professionals.
Windows Installer XML (WiX) project on Sourceforge.net.