10 Tips for Designing an Update Friendly MSI Installation

by Robert Dickau

Creating and deploying software updates is standard procedure for virtually every software company in the world. Knowing strategies for how to create an update-friendly Windows Installer (MSI) installation goes a long way to ensuring a smooth, error-free update experience for your end-users down the road. In the recently updated white paper “Designing an Update-Friendly MSI Installation” these ten tips are shared for organizing your initial MSI Installation Project to best prepare it for future upgrades:


Tip 1. Whenever possible, use versioned key files.
Tip 2. Partition your product into discrete sets of features.
Tip 3. Put user-configurable registry data in its own feature.
Tip 4. MSI property values are not automatically saved during the initial installation.
Tip 5. New subfeatures should be marked as “required” and “follow parent”.
Tip 6: If your minor upgrade removes data (files, registry settings, and so forth) from a component, populate the corresponding “Remove” data.
Tip 7: Change the MSI product version for each new release.

Tip 8: When building your update package, use Patch Optimization in your build settings.
Tip 9: When generating a patch for a compressed installation, use an administrative image.
Tip 10: When generating a patch, both versions should have the same media layout.

Download the white paper now for detailed explanation of each tip including best practice guidelines. You’ll also learn how-to design upgrade packages to install later versions of your products, as well as be introduced to the different types of updates supported by Windows Installer.


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