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I was just notified that the Windows Installer 3.0 redistributable has been posted live.

1. The redistributable package can be obtained from:

2. There is also a Knowledgebase article about this release available at:

3. Finally, the SDK documentation and tools are part of the Windows XP Service Pack 2 platform SDK and are available by clicking the "Windows XP SP2 SDK" link from:

I know a number of you were waiting for this release, so here we go. On with better patching and command-line typing in Darwin.

[Via Rob Mensching]

On the one hand this is very exciting, and on the other hand very disconcerting. Windows Installer (via WiX) is my setup technology of choice, and the new improvements and bug fixes offer new opportunities, especially with regards to patching, but one has to ask what the future holds for Darwin, where exactly it is going.

What is particularly important for me are two things: The requirements and the redistributable size. The requirements for Windows Installer 3.0 are:

  • Windows 2000 SP3 or Windows 2000 SP4
  • Windows 2003
  • Windows XP or Windows XP SP1 (MSI 3.0 is already included with SP2)

The size of the redistributable is 2025 KB (1.97 MB), which, depending on how you look at it, is either an improvement or not. For Windows Installer 2.0 there were two redistributables both about 1.7 MB in size. So at least there is only one redistributable to include now and effectively the download size is down by 1.5 MB (from 3.5 to 2). Of course, if you shipped only one redistributable, you have to account for an additional 200 KB or so, which isn't bad, really.

When we decided to adopt MSI on a company-wide basis I had countless complaints about the download size for the redistributables, because a large part of our South-African subscription base still has Windows 95/98 and dial-up connections (which makes “download-on-demand” redistributables problematic). The argument can always be used that the redistributables only have to be used once, and many users might have them already. But truthfully, how many users out there have already got Windows XP SP2? With Longhorn on the horizon, continuing to use new Windows Installer features (and let's be frank, some of them are much needed) will probably always be a catch-up game.

In that sense, something like the Nullsoft Scriptable Install System (NSIS) becomes very tempting. It works on any Windows version, and has an overhead of only 34 KB (according to their website), it's free and, more importantly, the editors for it are free as well. Make no mistake, after my experiences with InstallScript I much prefer a declarative setup technology over a scriptable one, but sometimes the reality of the setup domain can be daunting. I suspect we'll stick to MSI, because it's the “official Microsoft way” and because of great advantages like rollback, upgrades etc. But we'll have to stick to MSI 2.0 for now and for a while to come, I expect. I'm hoping for ClickOnce to improve things drastically in terms of smaller web-based installs, but I still don't know how I'm going to get the 20MB .NET framework 2.0 requirement past the product managers <smile />.

Posted on Wednesday, November 10, 2004 11:20 AM Setup, Wix and MSI | Back to top

Comments on this post: Windows Installer 3.0 Redist Live - Where is Darwin going?

# re: Windows Installer 3.0 Redist Live - Where is Darwin going?
Requesting Gravatar...
I am greateful to download it
Left by Sujit on Jan 20, 2006 6:18 AM

# re: Windows Installer 3.0 Redist Live - Where is Darwin going?
Requesting Gravatar...
some think
Left by hrvoje miklosevic on Feb 04, 2006 10:52 AM

# re: Windows Installer 3.0 Redist Live - Where is Darwin going?
Requesting Gravatar...
"validation required"

The validation does not support my system
(win2003 server enterprice edition)

Left by ahhiamdying4u on May 31, 2006 4:13 PM

# re: Windows Installer 3.0 Redist Live - Where is Darwin going?
Requesting Gravatar...
thanks a lot!
Left by bnn on Jan 07, 2008 4:47 PM

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