• MSI FAQ 12

    Posted on July 28, 2012 by in MSI Interview Q’s

    The following are Frequently Asked Questions duirng an interview for Application Packaging Position:
    The question and answers are being collected from Various MSI blogs and Articles. My effort is confined to collecting as much material as possible from various sources and publishing it at once place.

    S No.




    What will you do if you can’t solve   an issue in a package.
    1. Discuss it with the team
    2. Google it
    3. Contact vendor


    Which type of applications should   not be repackaged in MSI Windows Patches, Service Pack, Internet Explorer, Anti   Viruses, Applications which connect to their licensing servers to   authenticate installation, etc,


    Which & why files are stored in   C:\Windows\Installer When any msi, msp and its associated files (such as icons) is   installed on the system, then a copy of its msi file is cached in this   folder.
       114 Name 5 Mandatory properties for an MSI Package ProductCode – Unique identifier for particular   product release (GUID).
    ProductVersion – Version of the product. The format   of this string is: major.minor.build. Eg: 10.07.110
    ● ProductLanguage – Numeric language identifier (LANGID) installer will use for any strings in the user interface that are   not authored in the database. This value must be one of the languages listed in the Template Summary property in the Summary Information stream.
    ProductName – Name of the application.
    Manufacturer – Name of the manufacturer of the product.


    How advertised Installation is different from a   normal Installation In advertised installation, the installation is carried out   without actually installing any files and only when one of the entry point is   executed then the files are actually installed. Also shortcuts and file type   association is configured so that user can initiated the actual copying of   files from the installation location.


    What is “Source Resilience” and how does it work. The Windows Installer provides source   resiliency for features that are installed on-demand by using a source list.   It contain the locations searched by the installer for installation. The   entries can be network locations, Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), etc. If   one of these sources fails then installer seamlessly try the next one.Source Resiliency can be set during or after the   time of initial deployment:
    MST Files: Add and populate the   SOURCELIST property
    Command line: Populate the SOURCELIST   property at the command line when an application is initiallyinstalled. The parameter must be passed in at the end of the command line, after the package file location.msiexec.exe /I \\myserver\share\test_package.msi   SOURCELIST=”\\DP1\share\package_source;\\DP2\share\package_source;”Programmatically: An application that is   already installed can be modified through:
    Windows   Installer APIs (MsiSourceListAddSource) can add to the existing list of source paths. This also allows   for management of more than the 26 source paths that can be specified at   install time.
    ● Windows Installer Object Installer.AddSource. The AddSource method of the Installer object adds a source to   the list of valid network sources in the sourcelist.


    How to avoid repetitive self healing Check for the following in the package
    1. files in %temp% folder
    2. temp files such as .bak, .tmp etc
    3. registry keys in “Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell”,  Software\Microsoft\Windows\ShellNoRoam” etc
    if all the above fails then, check the event viewer to find   which component is responsible for self healing and try to fix it.


    what is REINSTALLMODE=vomus p — Reinstall only if the file is missing.
    o — Reinstall if the file is missing or is an older version.
    e — Reinstall if the file is missing, or is an equal or older version.
    d — Reinstall if the file is missing or a different version is present.
    c — Verify the checksum values, and reinstall the file if they are missing or corrupt. This flag only   repairs files that have msidbFileAttributesChecksum in  the Attributes column of the File Table.
    a — Force all files to be reinstalled.
    u — Rewrite all required registry entries from the Registry Table that go to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER or   HKEY_USERS registry hive.
    m — Rewrite all required registry entries from the Registry Table that go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE   or HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT registry hive
    s — Reinstall all shortcuts and re-cache all icons overwriting   any existing shortcuts and icons.
    v — Use to run from the source package and re-cache the local   package. Do not use the v reinstall   option code for the first installation of an application or feature.


    What is the difference between TARGETDIR and   INSTALLDIR TARGETDIR property specifies the root destination directory for the   installation and during the administrative installation it specifies the   location to copy the files. If TARGETDIR is not specified then ROOTDRIVE   property isused as root folder of installation.
    INSTALLDIR property is the default root location for all components.


    What is the difference between   ALLUSERS = 0,1,2 The ALLUSERS property configures the installation context of   the package. The Windows Installer performs a per-user installation or   per-machine installation depending on the access privileges of the user,   whether elevated privileges are required to install the application, the   value of the ALLUSERS property, the value of theMSIINSTALLPERUSER property and the version of the operating   system.
    ALLUSERS = 0: the per-user installation context
    ALLUSERS = 1: the per-machine installation context.
    ALLUSERS = 2: enables the system to reset the value of ALLUSERS,   and the installation context, dependent upon the user’s privileges and the   version of Windows.
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    One Responseso far.

    1. Rijju says:

      Hi Aishwarya,

      Could you please give recently asked interview question in application repackaging.

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