Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Related: How to extract files from MSI package?

To extract the contents of a MSI installer using Linux, I can either use msiexec with wine or use 7zip.

However, the latter does not preserve directories and file names only in part. Is there any way to properly extract MSI files without having to use wine?

edit: to illustrate the issue with Microsoft's Infer.NET, here is a list of files that 7zip produces and here one that msiexec produces (where the latter is what I want)

share|improve this question
You can use this article for Ubuntu hope it will help you. And also try Jsmsix.exe. – avirk May 27 '12 at 2:55
Thanks, I already read the article and it does not resolve the 7zip issues (neither in combination with e.g. cabextract). Jsmsix would still require wine because you can't run Windows executables natively. – user69175 May 28 '12 at 12:33
What issue you are facing with 7zip can you explain? – avirk May 29 '12 at 1:30
added an example – user69175 May 29 '12 at 12:13
What I'd like to do is create a buildscript for Archlinux, for which a set up wine is quite a bulky dependency just to be able to install something that should depend solely on mono. – user69175 May 30 '12 at 19:12
up vote 7 down vote accepted

While it won't help you immediately, lessmsi is working on a native Linux version. It preserves directory structure like you want, so it's worth checking up on if this is going to be a long-term issue for you. Unfortunately, .msi support on Linux seems pretty sparse, so lessmsi or msiexec through wine might be your only immediate option, even if (as you said) wine is a pretty heavy dependency for extracting archives.

share|improve this answer
That indeed seems to be the best solution, using wine and waiting for lessmsi for Linux. – user69175 Jun 3 '12 at 17:27
FYI: In the latest release of lessmsi I managed to move the cab extraction code over to libmspack which is a portable library that should run on linux too. So we did take a concrete step towards linux support recently. Soon I hope to use a portable msi lib, which will make everything portable. – Scott Willeke Feb 5 '13 at 18:40

Give msiextract a try,

And open bugs!

share|improve this answer
There is no package found for 14.04 and building it also need lot of tools / libs and skills. Giving up – harry Aug 21 '15 at 4:48
it's in debian, and ubuntu willy: You can then simply call "msiextract file.msi" and that's it, no more skills needed. – user2834 Aug 21 '15 at 15:32

You can try software called cabextract - atleast Ubuntu has packages for it, I would expect it to be found from other popular distros as well.

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the hint, but cabextract does not even partially conserve filenames and directories (so it performs worse than 7zip). – user69175 May 28 '12 at 12:30
The MSI format is multiple layers: at the top level it's a disk image, with data blocks scattered all around inside the .msi file. If you decode the disk image, it contains several files, including a .cab file, and database files. cabextract finds CAB file headers inside the .msi image, but as the full .cab file is not contiguous, it can't extract it. 7zip can extract the disk image and then the CAB file, but it doesn't know how to read the database files, which map the CAB file entries to their true installation paths, like lessmsi does. – Stuart Caie Mar 23 '15 at 9:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .