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Quickly Unpack an MSI

Created: 08 Jun 2007 • Updated: 02 Jun 2008 | 5 comments
marco.baars-123's picture
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When you want to know what an MSI contains or if you want to just extract a single file from a single MSI you usually open a cmd and type something like "msiexec /a name.msi".

To make unpacking easier i created a registry tweak to add this administrative install to your right click-menu.

Just right-click an MSI and select "Extract all files"

You can download it at http://k00tje.f-sw.com/

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trb48's picture

Not all MSIs come with an administrator install feature. This may work sometimes, but don't expect it to work all of the time. What I like to do is create a new layer, and have it capture just long enough for the installer to unpack itself. Then I stop capturing. The installer files can easily be found inside the layer. It has worked for me several times this week.

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Harsh Mokal's picture

I guess /a - administrative Image option works with most of MSI, Yes in some MSI Administrative Image UI is disabled, In this you can use /a option with TARGETDIR public property in silent mode.
So Your final commnad will be soemthing like this.
MSIEXEC /a MSI_NAME.MSI TARGETDIR=Directory_Name /qb!
or Qn
Unpacking can be done using Wise Package studio also with changing media into Uncompressed External.

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trb48's picture

I stand corrected! I tried the suggestion above and it worked. Thanks for the update Harsh!

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Harsh Mokal's picture

Most of time even unpacking is not 100% correct unless and untill packaging engineer had taken care of directory structure.
I will explain in brief. If there are two files with same name but with differant functionality which are conditionalized and get install in same folder. Example ABC.DLL file get install in C:\Program Files\Test\ directory. This file have two version 1. when office 2003 is present on system and 2. when office XP is present on system. In this case if directory structure is not properly resolved then only one file will get unpacked.

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DustyPete's picture

I've been using a simple utility, which essentially uses a bunch of other utilities to do the work: UniExtract

It integrates to Explorer and allows extraction of MSI, but also CAB files, InstallShield and a variety of other setup and compressor software.

Not perfect but it does the trick. Plus, this tool is made in my favorite freeware scripting language (AutoIt) .

Cheers,

Pete.

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