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.

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    What is Transaction processing? One or more operations processed together as a single   indivisible whole called a transaction. All the constituent operations must   succeed for the transaction to succeed, otherwise all the operations are   rolled back to the original state.Windows Installer 4.5 includes support for installing   multiple packages using transaction processing. The packages are chained   together and processed as a single transaction. If one or more of the   packages in the transaction cannot be installed successfully or if the end user   cancels the installation, the Windows Installerinitiates rollback for all of the packages to restore the   system to its earlier state.


    How to apply multiple transforms to MSI? msiexec   /i <msifile> transforms=”mst1.mst”, “mst2.mst”, “mst3.mst” /q


    Can to create an MSI package without using any commercial application? An MSI package can be created using VBScript, Python or any   other language which supports MSISDK. Also WIX can be used to create MSI   packages. ORCA can also be used.


    How do you   troubleshoot an MSI installation? Two most common items to look for while troubleshooting an   MSI installation are “MSI Installation Log file” &“Event Viewer”.


    What is the best   way to troubleshoot using installation log file Following items are the best practices when troubleshooting   using MSI log file
    •   Always read the file from the bottom up, as the error will have occurred nearer the end of the file.
    •   An MSI log is split into two categories; ‘Properties’, which are displayed at the end of the article and ‘Actions’.The Action looks like:

    MSI (s) (18:B8)   [12:40:51:187]: Doing action: CA_SETAPPFOLDER Action ended 12:41:23:   RollbackGet-AppFolder. Return value 1.

    and Property looks like:

    Property(S):   ALLUSERSPROFILE = C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\

    •   As Actions represent the flow of   installation thus they should be first investigated and later Properties if needed.
    •   To determine which action has failed   during the installation, search for the error generated during installation using   keyword such as “ERROR” & return codes
    •   Check for the action have caused the   error, also check the Action that was performed just before the error. A return   value code is written in the log to show if the action completed successfully   or not. One of the following will be displayed:

    ◦   Return Value 1 – The Action completed   successfully
    ◦   Return Value 2 – The user terminated the   action
    ◦   Return Value 3 – The Action failed (will   cause the installation to terminate)

    •   Make a note of which of the actions   gives a return value of 3, and record any additional error information in the   log file that may not have been displayed in the on-screen error.
    •   View the MSI and try to resolve the   issue.

    wilogutl.exe from MSISDK can be used to   view the log file. It can analyze and reports issues also and   can also save the logs in HTML format


    How to check the any component state during install or uninstall Log file is the best way to go about.


    MSI installation   is failing with 1603, what might be the cause? The following is a non-exhaustive list of known causes for   this error:
    •   Short file name creation is disabled on   the target machine.
    •   An Install Script custom action is prototyped incorrectly.
    •   A file is locked and cannot be overwritten.
    •   The Microsoft Windows Installer Service is not installed correctly.
    •   The Windows Temp folders are full.
    •   The setup was corrupted after   installation and, therefore, fails with this error during un-installation.
    •   An older version of Install Shield   Developer is being used.
    • A general error occurred   during the installation.
    • Print and File sharing is   not installed or enabled when installing MSDE 2000.For more details http://www.symantec.com/connect/articles/understanding-error-1603-fatal-error-duringinstallation


    How can we find whether source files contain MSI or not? •   If Msiexec engine process runs more than 2 times in taskmanager
    •   If package keeps entry of MSI in temp folder


    How MSI installation be tested or How do you test the created MSI or What all do you test in Vendor MSI or in-house MSI? Report the method which you follow.


    How to slipstream a patch to the original msi file Using the following command patch file can be   slip streamed on the original msi file.msiexec /a   <original .msi file> /p <.msp file with path>
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