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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)->Limitations (areas of improvement)

Windows Installer Basics: Limitations (areas of improvement)

This is my list of Windows Installer limitations and improvements (roughly in order of priority, but ease of implementation may have raised some).

Don't expect much in the way of patch limitations as in my opinion the problems with them outway the benefits (which in theory are big - having in the past written my own patch mechanism).

  1. Shortcut Choice by category or Location
  2. Resource Update Rules (per Component)
  3. Formatted Strings. Need Validations
  4. Formatted Strings. Need Transformations
  5. Cancel doesn't Cancel (advertised repair)
  6. Databases Contain Empty Holes!
  7. Databases Are Not Compressed!
  8. Internal MSIEXEC.EXE not Informational
  9. Microsoft Committed to Windows Installer?
  10. Ho Hum Support for Scripts
  11. Only supports INI data files (not XML, Text or property files)
  12. Limited Per-User Support
  13. Lots of bugs and features need fixing...
  14. Lack of decent driver support
  15. Can't query whether Per User or Per Machine!
  16. Cabinet File Size Limitations
  17. No List of Mandatory Tables
  18. Windows Installer Locking Mechanism
  19. MSI Activity After Reboot is Unreliable
  20. ShortCut Deletion should trigger Repair (at least optionally).
  21. Custom Action Return Codes Not Logged!
  22. Custom Action Capture STDIO/STDERR Flag
  23. Event Log Messages a Joke...
  24. SelfReg Table - Install Time Extraction
  25. SelfReg Table - Ordering
  26. Complete MSI not Cached
  27. MaskedEdit controls are virtually useless...
  28. Major logging improvements
  29. Only One MSI Install at a Time.
  30. Not All PUBLIC Properties are Supported by MSIEXEC.EXE
  31. Bitwise AND Conditions too limited.
  32. Documentation needs rewriting.
  33. Nested MSI installs need better support
  34. Better Support for Services
  35. Windows Installer 8.3 Support Patchy and Anoying
  36. Need more Custom Action Contex Information
  37. AppSearch can't search PATH for files!
  38. AppSearch can't find files based on attributes
  39. AppSearch - Hotfix stupidity means backed up hotfix files can be found in preference to real ones
  40. No Component FILE Path query
  41. Advertise pre-existing file associations
  42. Merges of Merge Modules should not complain about TARGETDIR Directory entries
  43. No Informational Dialogs
  44. Dialog Installation Units a real pain (for no gain)

I will add to the above as I think of them. Let me know if you have a favourite to add. I won't promise to agree to add it but hopefully this list might eventually help influence windows installer development.


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.
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Microsoft awarded me an MVP (Most Valuable Professional award) in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 for the Windows SDK (Windows Installer) area.