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Less MSIèrables - Extract the content of a .MSI file

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Yesterday, I decided to spent some time reviewing the WindowsLiveWriter plugin gallery and search for a replacer for Steve Dunn CodeFormatter plugin. I've been using this plugin since the beginning of the year but it revealed some problems composing the Html.

My friend Paulo told me about Douglas Stockwell "Paste from Visual Studio" plugin and I decided to try this one.

I download the vspaste.msi and tried to install it without success. As far as I understood (I didn't take this to depth) the .MSI was looking for a specific registry entry and since I'm using the portable version of WLW the key wasn't found.

I knew that WLW plugins don't required any special install procedure, they just need to be in the plugins folder.

I decided then to extract the .MSI content in order to be able to copy the assembly to the correct folder in my flash drive.

Searching the web I found a little tool called "Less MSIèrables" that exactly feets my needs.

It's a free tool written in C# for .NET 1.1 that allow us to open an .MSI file, explore its contents, and extract selected items.


We can also run it from the command line.

Its not perfect and I found a few possible improvements:

  • GUI - adding Drag'n'Drop capability
  • GUI - adding a select/unselect all files checkbox
  • CPI - adding a -l option to list all files within a .MSI file
  • CPI - adding a -e option to extract a list of files

The good news is that author made the source code available, so anyone can extend the tool.

In conclusion, it's free, it's cool and I think I'm going use it many times in future, helping me to see if I really need to install a .MSI.

For those of you that prefer not to use freeware tools, Microsoft provides us with msiexec.exe tool. This one is available in Windows XP and higher and also allow us to extract .MSI files using the following syntax:

msiexec.exe /a vspaste.msi /qb TARGETDIR=c:\temp

Published at DZone with permission of its author, Nuno Gomes.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)



Steve Dunn replied on Tue, 2008/06/03 - 6:13am

Hi there,

What problems are you finding with my add-in?  I could take a look if you've got any suggestions.



Nuno Gomes replied on Tue, 2008/06/03 - 8:02am in response to: Steve Dunn

Hi Steve,

The problem I found in you add-in is related to html composition. I not using it anymore so I wont verify it, but as far as I remember there were two problems:

  • Sometimes the code content was place outside of the <pre> tag
  • The code content was contained inside a div tag, but div tag is not a valid tag to be placed inside pre tag so, some feed reader (like feeddemon) render the code without any format or style.

As I said, I didn't verified again this two problems and I could have been using an old version.



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