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izfree 1.1

Free Tools for Windows Installer

This is izfree version 1.1, a collection of free tools for authoring Windows Installer .MSI installation packages. izfree is designed for use in conjunction with the Orca database editor included in the Microsoft Platform SDK.



izfree automates some tasks specific to the authoring of MSI installation database files with Orca. Orca provides a basic way to edit database tables, but doesn't create them automatically. izfree automates the following tasks:

izfree assumes that you are already familiar with Windows Installer, although version 1.1 makes it possible to create simple installations that install files and register COM objects with little or no knowledge of Windows Installer. Still, the MSI SDK documentation. Will likely prove invaluable for anything beyond the tasks automated by izfree or for debugging problems with your installation package.

If you are a Visual Studio user and are completely new to Windows Installer, you might want to start with Visual Studio Installer and experiment with creating some simple installations and examining the resulting msi with Orca.

Project Resources

About Windows Installer

When you consider the varied needs of install programs and the method by which they interact with the system to perform updates, you can easily imagine that a complete specifications of the actions of install programs covers quite a bit of territory. What follows in this section is a summary of Windows Installer. For more information see the MSI SDK documentation.

Windows Installer is a system component provided by Microsoft to address the problem of 'DLL Hell' and poor installation programs. Windows Installer is available as a free redistributable for Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows NT 4.0. Windows Installer is included in Windows Me, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Use of Windows Installer is required for Windows 2000 logo certification and will continue to be a standard installation technology for Microsoft platforms with XP, .NET and beyond.

Windows Installer uses a database of information about the application to be installed to determine what resources to install from source media onto the target machine. Resources may be files, fonts, registry entries, COM servers, NT services, and any other piece of data that is required by your application. The database is stored in a file with the extension '.msi'.

The database organizes the resources of an application into componentsand features. Components represent the smallest unit of resources thatcan be individually installed on the target machine. Components are groupedinto features to provide the functionality of an application.

Windows Installer caches the database onto the target machine when a product is installed. The cached database can be used to perform repair operations in case of accidental deletion or corruption of resources. The cached database is also used to remove the application completely, or to install or remove specific features provided by the application.

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