About the Installer Database

The Windows Installer database consists of many interrelated tables that together comprise a relational database of the information necessary to install a group of applications. Because the database is relational, the tables are linked through the data in the primary and foreign key values. This provides an efficient method for changing the installation process and means that users can more easily customize a large application or group of applications. The database tables reflect the general layout of the entire group of applications, including:

  • Available features
  • Components
  • Relationship between features and components
  • Necessary registry settings
  • User interface for the application

To create an installation database, you must populate the tables with all the information about the applications and the installation process. Manually authoring all these tables becomes a large task even for a moderate size installation; therefore some third-party tools are available to assist with building the installer database. The following sections describe groups of related database tables.

Core Tables Group

File Tables Group

Registry Tables Group

System Tables Group

Locator Tables Group

Program Information Tables Group

Installation Procedure Tables Group

Entity Relationship Diagram Legend

Text Archive Files

For a complete list of all tables in an installation database, see Database Tables.

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