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.


Warning Editing an MSI file can cause serious
problems that may leave your syste…


Warning 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

Installing and Running Orca

To install and run the Orca editor, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Windows Installer SDK samples, tools, and documentation from
    the following Web page:

  2. Install the Orca editor by double-clicking the Orca.msi file in the
    \Microsoft SDK\binfolder.
  3. Click Start, point to Programs, and then click Orca.
  4. On the File menu, click Open, and then browse to the .msi file that you want to


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
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 Tablesaction.


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:

  1. 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.
  2. Click to clear Show “INFO” messages to avoid
    informational messages which do not indicate a problem with the database.
  3. Click Go.

After validation is
complete, you can copy the results to a text editor for viewing.

Dialog Boxes

If the open .msi file in the Orca editor contains dialog boxes for the user
interface, preview these dialog boxes by using the Dialog
option on the Tools menu. You
must use the appropriate tables for editing the dialog boxes.

Summary Information

To edit the summary information, click Summary
on the View menu.

Note The ProductID 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


All information about the specific tables or
fields in a .msi file is located in…