.exe vs .msi



Does installing using .msi requires windows installer installed? and .exe

If so, under what circumstances would be an user NOT having windows
installer installed? My impression is that windows installer comes with OS.

Any other defferenciations between .exe and .msi?



windows installer is bundled with OS but not the Version 3 which you either
have to download or install the SP2 etc.
As for exe, a lot of setup.exe esp. form MS invokes .msi and uses Windows

Wesley Vogel

..msi files are Windows Installer files. .exe files are executable files,
i.e. programs. Some .exe files, related to installer files, may be
self-extracting compressed files that contain .msi files.

It's not a matter, with XP, if Windows Installer is installed, it's whether
it works correctly or not.

Hope this helps. Let us know.

MS-MVP Windows Shell/User



Thanks for the replies.

I'm actually on the dev/test side and would like to know all that's about
..exe and .msi, instead of how it would affect me as an individual installer.

I think I know that .exe acts as a wrapper would eventually call a .msi.

I guess my question is under what sceanario would a user NOT having

- windows installer?

- correct version of windows installer? ie, Version 3, what is it about?
what does it do extra than previous versions? what version comes with default
Windows (I'll be needing to ensure all Windows platform will work for our

- correct functioning windows installer. when would a windows installer not
working as expected handling .msi file, would having .exe totally address any
of potential issues of this kind?


Adam Leinss

I think I know that .exe acts as a wrapper would eventually call a

Not necessarily. MSI is a new installation technology that includes
nifty features such as self repair and transforms. EXE type installs
(such as InstallShield) just dump the files and exit (generally

It sounds like you aren't using any of MSI's advanced features, so an
EXE type install sounds like what you need.
I guess my question is under what scenario would a user NOT

- windows installer?

Windows 9x. I think Windows 2000 (none-SP) has version 1.0. Later
service packs had 2.0. XP comes with 2.0 out of the box.


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