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Friday, September 7, 2007

WS08 Certification Requirements: MSI Not Required

I love good tools, but I love great practices even more. I dislike it when people think tools are more important than practices. My friend Paul Duvall says it better then me:

However, having a tool synonymous with a practice can be bad thing because people can get carried away with the various bells and whistles different CI servers provide. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of CruiseControl and other CI servers, but let’s not get lulled into thinking that the tool is what provides the practice. Vendors may want us to think this, but we’re smarter than this, right?

So while I love MSI, I love it as a tool that implements sound practices... practices that can also be accomplished using other NON-MSI tools.

So with that in mind, a friend recently forwarded me this email stating that Windows Installer is being dropped from WS08 Logo requirements.

From: Meg Muran (Corestaff) [mailto:]
Sent: Thursday, September 06, 2007 4:34 PM
Subject: PLEASE READ: Change in WS08 Certification Requirements
Importance: High

MSI installation is now RECOMMENDED/OPTIONAL and no longer REQUIRED. This should make your development team very happy if, like many ISVs, the MSI installation requirement has been blocking your path to certification.

The following language (or something very similar) will replace the existing section of the certification requirements documents and tools available at As always, is the technical support alias you should use for all certification-related issues.

Installation requirements in detail
2.1 Installer related requirements
Use Windows Components for Installation.

Using the built in installation engines creates consistent, reversible, transacted installations. This ensures the quality of the user's application experience upon installation and throughout the software lifecycle.

Ø It is optional and recommended that application use use the Windows Installer (MSI) or ClickOnce for installation. When using Windows Installer, Installation packages must not receive any errors from the Internal Consistency Evaluators (ICEs) listed here:

1-24, 27-31, 33-36, 38-57, 59, 61-63, 65, 67-72, 74-84, 86-87, 89-94, 96-99

Warnings represent design guidance to the package author which should be studied for applicability. Any warnings that do not apply or will not be fixed must be documented.

If your applications setup is a non-MSI based setup it must be clearly documented as part of the Logo submission documentation. If any generic installation requirement outlined in this document applies to your installer, then they must be satisfied as well.

Additional Information

A variety of third-party tools are available that can be used to create Windows Installation packages. The ICEs can be run from the Orca application, which ships with the Windows SDK.

For information on ICE, see:

Ø Support command line installation

Applications must support command line install uninstall. This applies to applications regardless of the use of Windows Installer.

Applications using Windows Installer must successfully install in quiet mode via a command line with /qn switch.

All command line options for install uninstall must be clearly documented.

Meg Muran (Corestaff)
Windows Server Marketing - Logo Team


  1. I am not so sure this is a good thing. With Windows Installer comes enforceable standards, and open format. One of things I hate most about installation is not being able to open it up and see what it is going to do to my system.

    This may come as a headache to many enterprise organizations as well since most build their deployment shops around supporting Windows Installer.

    Everyone may not like being forced to use Windows Installer for certification, it definitely has its advantages for the end user.

  2. As my friend says `don't get me wrong` .... I still like MSI, but I like the emphasis on the practice not the tool.

    I believe the statistics are 50% of ISV's ship MSI's and 80% of installs in corporate environments are MSI. Clearly Windows Installer addresses corporate user stories more then ISV development stories.

    Everyone gets to make their choices in life. Look on the bright side.... if more ISV's choice non-MSI and do a poor job at it and yet still sell their products to corps, there will be more repackaging/virtualization work to go around.

  3. That doesn't have say that the Windows Installer requirement will be removed in general. There has always been a difference between desktop and server operating systems: Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 logo guidelines highly recommend but don't require Windows Installer. Windows 2000 Professional and Windows Vista however do require Windows Installer. Windows XP is an exception: Windows Installer is not a requirement for the general "Designed for Windows XP" logo, but it is required for the "Optimized for Enterprises" add-on. So apparently Windows Installer is a requirements in mass deployment scenarios (corporate desktops) but not for servers.