Defrag Tools #148 - Windows Installer - ORCA

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In this episode of Defrag Tools, Andrew Richards and Chad Beeder talk about Windows Installer and the ORCA Editor. The ORCA Editor is used to view and author Windows Installer files (*.msi, *.msm, *.msp, *.mst).

[01:20] - Windows Installer files
[02:28] - "MSI Tools" in the Windows 10 SDK
[07:22] - ORCA Editor
[16:26] - Windows Installer Logging - voicewarmup
[18:32] - Sequencing
[23:58] - "Windows Logo" Validation
[25:08] - Email us your issues at



The Discussion

  • User profile image

    Is there a way to view installers that are created as .exe?

  • User profile image

    Yes, there is. The exe has to make a call to the Windows Installer. To do this, it needs a msi file on the disk. That's why they copy it to the harddisk and then make the call. So, while the setup is running, you can find the file on your disk. Or you can try the /a option and try an administrative installation which will copy the file to a location you choose (if that's supported by this setup).

  • User profile image

    This might be interesting too...

    Orca by the way means "one really cool application" :-)

  • User profile image


    Yes. How you'd do this, and how easy it is, depends on the technology. If the install was created with WiX and is a burn bundle, you can use dark to extract the MSI. Some installs have a command line parameter which extracts the files locally. 

    Most installs are in fact some type of archive with a wrapper, so something like 7z or IZArc can extract the resources, though it can take some investigation to figure out which is the MSI.

    BTW, there is another tool that does the same thing as Orca:, but has some better capabilities and a more up to date UI. The free version is worth a look (not tried the paid version)

  • User profile image

    Thanks for the video, really enjoy the series. While on the subject of Windows Installer, once you have the MSI log file, Wilogutl.exe ( is worth a mention as a means to process it in a more friendly fashion than just searching for "return value 3" in the appropriate launguage. It also allows you to analyse the logs silently if you have to process multiple MSI logs.

  • User profile image
    Gary H

    I really enjoy these types of videos. Good stuff.

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