MAKEMSI quickly and reliably creates MSI files in a non-programmatic way
Have your say! Join the MAKEMSI discussion list or view archive! Suggest improvements. No question too simple or too complex.
[Bottom][Contents][Prev]: Hide the DOS Command Window[Next]: Directories
Have your say! Join the MAKEMSI discussion list or view archive! Suggest improvements. No question too simple or too complex.
\->Windows Installer FAQ (the basics)->Database Tables

Windows Installer Basics: Database Tables

A Windows Installer database is based on SQL tables, rows and columns which drive the installation activity. All tables have one or more columns as a primary key. Both table and column/field names are case sensitive, and if a column name ends with "_" such as "Feature_" then that column is a foreign key into another table (the "Feature" table in this case).

The MAKEMSI "TableDefinition" command is used to define all tables MAKEMSI manipulates (column attributes etc) and the "Table" and "Row" commands are used to update existing rows or add new ones to the tables. By default if you duplicate a primary key when adding a row it will overwrite the existing one but you can alter this behavior to abort, you have a fair bit of control over how rows are added and what validation is performed. These are the most fundamental MAKEMSI commands and all others use them to update the msi.

It is possible to make temporary "install time" alterations to the msi, see the "Dynamically Update Dialog Controls" section for an example.

One of the easiest ways to examine the contents is with the "ORCA" tool, the following is an example which shows some of the contents of one of the tables:

Some other handy tools are:

List of Tables

This list is unlikely to be complete so please check out the Windows Installer SDK - documentation.

The tables:


Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.Please email me any feedback, additional information or corrections.
See this page online (look for updates)

[Top][Contents][Prev]: Hide the DOS Command Window[Next]: Directories


MAKEMSI© is (C)opyright Dennis Bareis 2003-2008 (All rights reserved).
Sunday November 17 2013 at 1:19pm
Visit MAKEMSI's Home Page
Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.