MAKEMSI is a freeware tool which enables you to easily and reliably create low overhead "MSI" or "Windows Installer" based installers. Windows Installer is a Microsoft developed and backed installer format or technology for building reliable installation packages.
MAKEMSI utilizes simple XML like text files for the reliable creation (or updating) of MSI based installers. Once set up subsequent rebuilds are automated, reliable, quick and in general require no MSI skills. Not only does MAKEMSI build the MSI but it creates HTML documentation for it as well! As an MSI creator MAKEMSI generates small files, unlike those built by other tools which can be huge!
Some advantages of an MSI include:
1. Automatic handling of files opened by applications (in use).
2. If an install fails then prior changes will be undone (no half installs).
3. Enables deployment (with or without elevated privledges) to all boxes in a network via Group Policy/Active Directory. Corporate customers will definately prefer (or in fact generally require) MSI based installers due to their ease of deployment.
4. The automatic creation of XP system restore points at package install and uninstall.
5. Self healing (repair) of files or registry entries.
6. The advertising of complete applications (or parts) which allows installation on demand (resources not installed until required).
7. Installation or uninstallation can be automated via command line parameters in a standard way (automatic support for silent or unattended installs).
8. Allows merging of common "runtime files" (via Microsoft or other 3rd party merge modules).
9. Configuration of MSI based products is supported by many mechanisms which are standard for all MSI installers. MSI files are self contained SQL databases (with SQL tables and rows) and Windows Installers uses a data driven approach to installation. This installation can can be manipulated (by the end user) to tweak them or alterations can be done via separate SQL transforms or options can be overridden from the command line. This can change install file and shortcut locations and control which features get installed plus much more.
10. Microsoft Windows product logos require MSI based installers.