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What is the difference between .exe and .msi?

Obviously there is a difference between exe and msi files, but what is it?

What is the difference between .exe and .msi?

.exe and .msi extensions are two very common extensions for Windows’ users. You usually come across them every now and then making installations, updating stuff on your computer or in any other system wide changes. Common computer users from around the world misinterpret .exe and .msi to be of more or less the same standards but there is a lot that differs in both of them. Here is the list of it.

“.msi” File Extension

1. StepMSI are usually database files that are used up by Windows Installers.

2. StepMSI files usually contain information about any application that is further divided into features and components. Each feature or component therefore may hold files, registry data, shortcuts, etc.

3. StepThe .msi files also contain information about the User Interface that shows up once you execute them. At times it also contains other data for the installation. All the administrative data related to the installation is present in a .msi file.

4. Step.msi files do sometimes contain the actual files that need to be installed while this is not always the case. There are instances where the files to be installed are present in a CAB file with the package or in any other form where .msi file can access them.

5. Step.msi files are the recommended installation type on a Windows based system. These files are easy to create and manage.

6. StepThe best part about .msi files is that they are executed with the help of MSIEXEC.EXE itself.

“.exe” File Extension

1. StepWindows Installer files are new to the computing world and there are even instances where an .msi file comes with a .exe installer in the form of Setup.exe or anything similar.

2. Step.exe files are usually bootstrappers that do not form the installation rather they set everything in sequence and verify parameters on the time of installation.

3. StepThere are instances when .exe files contain .msi files as a component to install a certain package.

In the nutshell, .msi files can only be installations that will be executed by MSIEXEC.EXE file while .exe files could be anything that can run on your computer.

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Published: Monday, June 13th, 2011 Last Modified: June 9, 2011

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