Using Orca to manage MSI packages

There are many programs that come with MSI installer and not every installer is free of bugs or small problems. If you are building your own installer using Visual Studio you may want to change it before publishing it to users. Here is little overview of my main free tool called Orca.

Orca is free tool you can use to explore and modify MSI files. You can see all the tables of MSI file and look what is inside these tables. On the following screenshot you can see properties table of IIS application warm-up module installer.


It is possible to modify values in tables and set package options. Of course, there are more useful things like package validation, dialog viewer, module merger and transformer you can use to apply custom transforms to your installer.

There are also free alternatives like InstEd and you can find even more if search. I prefer Orca because it is very simple and straightforward. There is not much automagic functionality that does a lot of things for me and I like it. If I need to modify the package I want to see it as it exactly is.

You can find Orca from Windows Server 2003 SP1 Platform SDK as states Microsoft knowledge base article How to use the Orca database editor to edit Windows Installer files. If you don’t want to download Windows SDK-s to your computer, you can download Orca from Softpedia.

Gunnar Peipman

Gunnar Peipman is ASP.NET, Azure and SharePoint fan, Estonian Microsoft user group leader, blogger, conference speaker, teacher, and tech maniac. Since 2008 he is Microsoft MVP specialized on ASP.NET.

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