Due to limitations in the existing Windows Installer tools, you may need to edit the Windows Installer package (.msi) files directly. The Orca database editor is a table-editing tool available in the Windows Installer SDK and it can be used to edit your .msi files. The Orca editor edits and creates merge module (.msm) files , Internal Consistency Evaluator (.cub) files, and patch creation files (.pcp). This article discusses how to use the Orca editor to modify your .msi files.
Editing an MSI file can cause serious problems that may leave your system in an unstable state. Microsoft cannot guarantee that problems resulting from the incorrect use of the MSI file editor can be solved. Modifications of the MSI file of a shipping product should only be attempted under direct instruction from the product's vendor.
Installing and Running Orca
To install and run the Orca editor, follow these steps:
- Download the Windows Installer SDK samples, tools, and documentation from the following Web page:
- Install the Orca editor by double-clicking the Orca.msi file in the \Microsoft SDK\bin folder.
- Click Start, point to Programs, and then click Orca.
- On the File menu, click Open, and then browse to the .msi file that you want to edit.
The tables in the .msi file are listed in the left pane. Select the table to edit. The fields of the table appear at the top of the right pane. You can expand and collapse these fields.
To add standard tables that do not appear, click Add Table
on the Tables
menu. To remove a table, click Drop Table
on the Tables
menu, . You must select a table for the Drop Table
option to appear on the menu.
The Export Tables
and Import Tables
options are located on the Tables
menu. The Export Tables
option exports a table to a text format that can be edited with a text editor, such as Notepad. The exported table has a .idt extension. You can import these IDT tables into the Orca editor by using the Import Tables
To add a row to a table, click Add Row
on the Tables
menu. A dialog box appears with the fields of the selected table. Fields with a gold key beside them are the primary keys for that table. The field name is indicated above the edit box, followed by the field type. If the word "Required" follows the field type, this field is required and the row cannot be added until a value appears in this field.
To remove a row, select the row of the table, and then click Drop Row
on the Tables
To edit an existing field in a row, double-click inside the field that you want to edit.
Validation runs from within the Orca editor when you click Validate
from the Tools
menu. If you are using the Orca editor that is included in the latest Windows Installer SDK, there is a drop-down list of the available evaluation files that you can run.
To validate a file, follow these steps:
- Select an available evaluation file suite from the drop-down menu in the Orca editor of the latest Windows Installer SDK.
- Select Full MSI Validation Suite to validate a MSI file with all of the available validators.
- Select Windows 2000 Logo Program Suite to run a subset of the validators that are used for logo certification.
- Select Merge Module Validation Suite to validate an MSM file.
- Click to clear Show "INFO" messages to avoid informational messages which do not indicate a problem with the database.
- Click Go.
After validation is complete, you can copy the results to a text editor for viewing.
If the open .msi file in the Orca editor contains dialog boxes for the user interface, preview these dialog boxes by using the Dialog Preview
option on the Tools
menu. You must use the appropriate tables for editing the dialog boxes.
To edit the summary information, click Summary Information
on the View
field is the package code for the .msi file, not the product code. The product code is stored in the Property
table in the ProductCode property. If you save the .msi file in the Orca editor, the package code is not automatically changed. You must make this change manually.