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.
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The Conversation

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  • Vista user

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

  • jamesta

    wow, i love it, great job. cheers.

  • Sid

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

  • Venny

    did not work

  • Mikey

    Extracting manually worked GREAT! Appreciate the work-around.

  • xpUser

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

  • Mike

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

  • another satisfied customer

    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.

  • Anna

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

  • bearsomg

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

  • Mehul Gavit


  • Bush_out

    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….

  • Name

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

  • Dean Williams

    Genius mate, thanks a tonne

  • jon

    Thanks a lot – worked great

  • Symbiatch

    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!

  • Denise

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