[wix-users] MSI as a wrapper for EXEs

Christopher Painter chrpai at iswix.com
Tue Dec 8 10:06:49 PST 2020

It can be done with (severe) limitations.  This is referred to as a Trojan MSI.  You create an MSI with a UI experience and then have WiX Quiet Execute custom actions that call the EXE on install and uninstall.

A shortlist of things to consider is:

1) If a user edits the MSI using ORCA they won't have any of the normal meta data telling them what the MSI does.

2) If the EXE fails, MSI can't roll back the changes.  This applies to both install and uninstall.

3) If the EXE has undesired behavior it generally can't be transformed.

More but those are the biggies.   If the install EXE and uninstall EXE were the same I'd point you to an application called EXE

Often times setup developers will "repackage" the EXE into an MSI.  This is basically the process of capturing the changes made by the exe ("setup intent") and authoring an MSI to do the same natively.

From: wix-users <wix-users-bounces at lists.wixtoolset.org> on behalf of Valer Nur via wix-users <wix-users at lists.wixtoolset.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 4:44 AM
To: wix-users at lists.wixtoolset.org <wix-users at lists.wixtoolset.org>
Cc: Valer Nur <valernur at yahoo.com>
Subject: [wix-users] MSI as a wrapper for EXEs

This is my first step with MSI technology.

I have today two windows executable (EXEs): one is doing install and one is doing uninstall. They are both working silently and do not require any input from the user.
I am looking for a way to "wrap" them in a single MSI that will simply invoke these two EXEs without the need to rebuild the installation logic.

Is it possible to do it with Wix or is there another recommended tool for this (hopefully simple) mission?
Any guidance/feedback will be appreciated.


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