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AS or MSI packages for installation on Windows?
by Kevin "kj" Woolley

Kevin "kj" Woolley, March 20, 2006

A very common question is what the difference between the AS and MSI installer packages is. Here's the quick answer, with some additional points for MSI packages from TrentM: The AS package is far less functional than the MSI package....

A very common question is what the difference between the AS and MSI installer packages is.  Here's the quick answer, with some additional points for MSI packages from TrentM:

The AS package is far less functional than the MSI package.  Here's a quick run-down of the differences:

AS package:

  • zip file
  • batch-file installation script
  • cannot repair a corrupted installation
  • cannot uninstall the package automatically
  • requires manual setting of paths, registry entries, etc.

MSI package:

  • Microsoft Installer file
  • double-click the file to run the graphical installer
  • can repair a corrupted installation
  • can uninstall the package via the Add/Remove Programs control panel
  • sets the required environment variables and registry settings automatically
  • can be installed non-interactively (no GUI required)
  • can be installed remotely using standard Microsoft tools

As you can imagine, the MSI package is highly recommended.

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About the Author: RSS

kj is ActiveState’s Systems Administrator. He was born in London, Ontario, grew up in North Vancouver, and spent several years in the Northwest Territories doing technical sales. As a technical infrastructure specialist, he brings over twenty years of systems administration experience to ActiveState.

Comments

2 comments for AS or MSI packages for installation on Windows?
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Same goes for ActivePython. Also in the MSI package list:

- you can do a silent (i.e. no UI) install with MSI
if you want to
- if the MSI is setup for it you can optionally install only certain bits (http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/docs/ActivePython/2.4/installnotes.html#install_features)
- MSI packages can be used for installing on numerous machines with standard remote Windows administration tools

Permalink

Thanks for the information, Trent -- I've integrated it into the main article. If you see any good information that I'm missing in any of my posts, please let me know and I'll make sure it gets in there.