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Can anyone advise a way, or utility that can extract the files from an MSI installation package.

We have some old patches that we want to get the files from but don't wish to spend the time installing them to a machine.

Much appreciated.

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Can you provide more information on what exact MSI installation package you want to extract, your OS details etc. –  Firee Feb 7 at 13:03
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migrated from stackoverflow.com Jul 7 '11 at 14:20

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11 Answers

up vote 64 down vote accepted

from Google, for Vista:

First, access an elevated command prompt, to do this:

  1. Click the Start button.

  2. Click All Programs.

  3. Go into Accessories.

  4. Right-click on Command Prompt.

  5. Select Run as administrator.

  6. When the UAC Prompt appears, click Continue.

Once you have your elevated command prompt, input the following:

msiexec /a filepath to MSI file /qb TARGETDIR=filepath to target folder

using the desired locations to fill the above mentioned filepaths. (Example: msiexec /a c:\testfile.msi /qb TARGETDIR=c:\temp\test)

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Thanks neoice - that does seem to work, so will accept. Unfortunately it turns out they are not msi setups but installshield .exe setups. –  Martin Feb 14 '09 at 12:58
another quick Google turned up this: legroom.net/software/uniextract I would prefer to use built-ins but it looks like an acceptable utility. –  neoice Feb 14 '09 at 13:36
Note that (a) msiexec does not deal with relative filepaths and (b) will place the files into their target installation paths using this method. –  Paul-Jan Feb 14 '09 at 15:46
As far as I understand (from msiexec /?), this command will actually install the program to that location; I don't think this is what the original requestor had in mind. –  user6738 Aug 9 '10 at 7:07
@user6738 I've tested this and it does not install the software. The software is neither found in the appwiz nor can it be uninstalled via the msi and reports that it is not installed. It truly extracts the files from my test. –  Adam Caviness Jan 18 '12 at 15:43
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Use 7Zip.
It will unpack MSI , CAB and a lot more packages for you .


And its open source, so no nagging messages begging you to buy the stuff

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+1 for a solution that works on other OS's –  user69175 May 23 '12 at 15:18
and after trying it, msiexec does a better job (preserving the directories, naming files correctly, etc.) –  user69175 May 23 '12 at 15:44
This didn't seem to work for me on win7 x64 with 32-bit 7-Zip. Is there a particular way (not drag-drop) you have to tell it to open the file? –  ebyrob Mar 12 '13 at 14:47
There should be an option of 7zip in the context menu when you right click the file - it will give you the option to extract the files –  Shakehar Mar 13 '13 at 19:48
I see lots of stuff with an exclamation sign in front instead of actual files. I guess either something has changed or I have an odd msi file. I tried 7-Zip 9.20. –  mlt Oct 1 '13 at 23:08
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There is also lessmsi which is completely free and open source: http://code.google.com/p/lessmsi/

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Thanks! This one helped me to extract from an MSI which wouldn't extract with the msiexec command saying "admin install is not supported" for <installation package name> –  axk Jan 17 '11 at 17:39
Thank you for commenting. Glad it helped! –  scott Jan 22 '11 at 3:13
Thanks for pointing to this awesome tool! Simple and effortless –  Konstantin Spirin Feb 16 '11 at 2:58
pure awesomeness.. Thanks a heaven lot. just what i was looking for. –  nawfal Jun 8 '11 at 21:38
So glad you like it nawfal :) –  scott Jun 11 '11 at 0:05
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I would recommend UniExtract for making neoice's solution even easier. It does the same thing, just is more automated and allows several methods for extracting MSI files, not just an administrative install (as his solution is using).

UniExtract can also handle exe's packaged with WISE or InstallShield, as well as a variety of other compressed formats. Oh, and its free.

Universal Extractor is a program do to exactly what it says: extract files from any type of archive, whether it's a simple zip file, an installation program, or even a Windows Installer (.msi) package.

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If you install Total Commander, there is a plugin to open and extract MSI files.

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Right. But unfortunately only for 32-bit TC –  Timores Nov 5 '13 at 9:42
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you can use Orca this app is a part of Platform SDK, but you can also download it from here http://astebner.sts.winisp.net/Tools/Orca.zip

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Orca is better for extracting meta-data like file, folder, and registry tables. It’s generally not very useful for extracting the actual files (completely useless if the files are not stored in the binary table). –  Synetech Nov 8 '11 at 19:53
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You can also try Heath Stewart's MSI Extractor.

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Just download Universal Extractor. It extracts all types of files, including .exe,.msi,.rar,.zip,.kgb and more.

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Try MSITOOLS.EXE hosted on InstallSite for a GUI extractor.

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lessmsi is really the best choice here, as it offers you to choose exactly what files to extract and where they should go. In addition it can be easily installed using the apt-get framework for windows, called Choclatey. The above lessmsi website has moved and it can also be found/downloaded at GitHub. In addition you can find many other tools and MSI related information HERE. :(Sorry, I can't post more than 2 links!)

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Installshield .exe setups (as you call them) come in many flavors, and it is generally possible to extract files from them.

An Installshield setup.exe can contain old, legacy non-msi installers or new msi installers.

If the setup.exe is wrapping an MSI setup, you can specify setup.exe /a and the MSI's admin install will run, allowing you to specify and output location for the files.

If the setup.exe is a legacy Installshield setup, it may or may not support extracting files via the /extract_all:[path] switch. Please see here (updated July 2011, Acresso link was no longer valid, updated again February 2014 - pointing to itninja now).

Also note that another way to get hold of these files is to clean out the temp folder on your system, launch the setup.exe interactively and then wait for the first dialog to show up. In most cases the installer will have extracted a bunch of files to a temp folder. Sometimes the files are plain, other times in CAB format, but winzip may be able to open these.

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My requirements for doing this have passed now - but I will try what you suggest at some point to see if it would have worked. Thanks for responding. –  Martin Jul 1 '09 at 9:54
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