Windows 7/Vista: How to Extract Content from MSI Files

While there are plenty of utilities available to extract the contents of an MSI file, you can do it straight from the command line without using some third party application. These directions have been updated to show this works in both Windows 7 and Vista. Here’s how:

First, access an elevated command prompt, to do this:

1. Click the Start button.

2. Click All Programs.

3. Go into Accessories.

4. Right-click on Command Prompt.

5. Select Run as administrator.

6. When the UAC Prompt appears, click Continue.

Once you have your elevated command prompt, input the following:

msiexec /a filepath to MSI file /qb TARGETDIR=filepath to target folder

using the desired locations to fill the above mentioned filepaths.
(Example: msiexec /a c:\testfile.msi /qb TARGETDIR=c:\temp\test)

Press the Enter button on your keyboard.

If you have entered the command correctly, the MSI file’s contents will be extracted.


About Rob Rogers

Once a prolific author here on Tech-Recipes, Rob has moved on to greener pastures.
View more articles by Rob Rogers

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

18 Responses to “Windows 7/Vista: How to Extract Content from MSI Files”

  1. October 05, 2008 at 6:31 pm, Vista user said:

    No, I get “The Installscript engine is missing from this machine”


  2. December 15, 2008 at 7:17 am, jamesta said:

    wow, i love it, great job. cheers.


  3. December 31, 2008 at 5:35 pm, Sid said:

    I like 7zip – Right Click on File –> Extract! =)


  4. January 16, 2009 at 6:58 am, Venny said:

    did not work


  5. January 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm, Mikey said:

    Extracting manually worked GREAT! Appreciate the work-around.


  6. May 18, 2009 at 10:46 am, xpUser said:

    I still can not open the msi file. I even tried a exe converter. plz help!


  7. May 22, 2009 at 2:38 pm, Mike said:

    Great! Worked a treat, tnks a 10^6!


  8. May 24, 2009 at 6:46 am, another satisfied customer said:

    Worked a treat! Took me a few goes to sort it out but when the penny finally dropped – I had extracted the files I needed. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.


  9. June 30, 2009 at 8:30 am, Anna said:

    Superb, you have no idea how much job you just saved me ;)
    Thanks a bunch!


  10. July 08, 2009 at 6:27 pm, bearsomg said:

    worked great, thanks.
    i hate installing things, they screw up my computer…


  11. September 19, 2010 at 8:12 am, Mehul Gavit said:



  12. September 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm, Bush_out said:

    Thanks, and to the person saying to use 7zip, that doesnt actually extract the content of the msi. Only found that out after installing it….


  13. December 05, 2010 at 11:23 pm, Name said:

    Tried it in Windows 98 and it worked. So it works on any system with Windows Installer installed.


  14. December 27, 2010 at 2:40 pm, Dean Williams said:

    Genius mate, thanks a tonne


  15. June 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm, jon said:

    Thanks a lot – worked great


  16. January 07, 2013 at 7:23 pm, Symbiatch said:

    This will NOT extract the files. This will INSTALL the application, although in the directory specified. So it’s not the correct way to do it!


  17. October 28, 2013 at 1:44 pm, Denise said:

    did not get a prompt to run as admin, nor a UAC prompt, it did not work


Leave a Reply