PurposeA major potential benefit of Windows 2000 deployments is the
ability to distribute software using a combination of Group Policies and the
Microsoft Installer Service (MSI). This method of software deployment enables
the MSI service to install applications with an elevated privilege without those
same privileges being extended to all users of a workstation.
Unfortunately, in the real world the advantages of MSI are often unused
because few applications are shipped with MSI style installation applications.
In many cases tools are available to repackage existing installation packages.
Unfortunately this places the burden on each site to create its own private MSI
package for its own internal use. This is because an MSI package includes the
application binaries that are subject to license terms and copyright protection.
As such, the results of most repackaging efforts are not normally legally
redistributable to other sites.
This page is set up to allow institutions to share repackaging efforts
without violating their license agreements or passing the application binaries
to any third party.
Conversion ToolBecause MSI is a binary format, it is not easy to share
and to perform version control. Therefore we use a freeware product msi2xml to convert our
MSI's to XML. All the software on this site is in XML format. Using the same
tool, we can convert the XML back to MSI.
Although the notes for the msi2xml tool indicate that is primary purposes
The tool also
includes the ability to write the binary streams as external files and includes
them by references in the XML file. By using this feature, and redistributing
the XML files without the binary streams, the tool provides a useful mechanism
to share repackaging efforts between sites without violating any license
- Quality assurance: use the human readable XML file to compare
changes between different versions of a .msi file.
- Version control: many version control systems are text based. Store
the XML file instead of the .msi file.
- Automated build systems: using xml2msi, existing installations may
be updated with new files, and automatically rebuilt.
List of ApplicationsXML format
Note: In order to view the list of applications in XML format, make
- You are using Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or later.
- You have installed Microsoft XML Parser (MSXML) 3.0 available from http://msdn.microsoft.com/xml.
- You're running MSXML in Replace mode. You can use xmlinst.exe
to install MSXML 3.0 in Replace mode.
Email us at email@example.com
with questions, comments, and suggestions.
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