I'm not a fan of Microsoft's .msi installer files. They're slow, they don't let me pick start menu groups, and they are a major overkill for lots of tiny program installations that I use where a simple rar file (okay zip would work too) would be much more suitable. So sometime last year I spent a night hacking together a simple tool that lets me take these miserable .msi files and extract their contents. Since others may find it useful too, I figured I'd put it out here.
It works from the command line, has a simple form that lets you extract files and view msi tables. Let me warn you the first time you run it, it will add an "Extract" item to the right-click menu in explorer when right-clicking on .msi files (the added registry entry is made at \\\Registry\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Msi.Package\shell\Extract\command\). Thanks to the WiX project for the handy utility classes for working with msi files and awesome reference on msi internals.
You can run it from the command line using the syntax:
lessmsi -x <inputfile> <output directory>
lessmsi -x "C:\Downloads\ActiveReports for .NET Setup.msi" C:\junk\
2005-Jun-11: Updated to work on .NET v1.1 framework.
2005-Nov-15: Updated with new features & fixes.
You can download it at here
and consider it licensed under Common Public License Version 1.0
posted @ Thursday, June 02, 2005 1:09 AM