How can I create a single MSI installer file for many remote applications in Remote Desktop Services (RDS)?

Suppose I have 10 applications exposed via RDS. To make life easier I created MSI installer packages so users can "install" those applications. Currently I have 10 different MSI files which forces users to install 10 times. Is it possible to make all/some applications into a single MSI file?

(I don't control user machines so installing via GPO or other magic is out of the question).


It's possible to chain multiple MSI packages so that they all install as one with Office 2003, so I'd guess that it's also generally possible with other apps. There's a KB article on it here which may give further useful info.

Failing that you could just provide a batch file that calls msiexec on the 10 different MSI packages. Run msiexec /? for more info on the various command-line parameters available.

  • thank you for the hint about office 2003 thing. Unfortunately I'm afraid I will not be able to use it just like that since my .msi files are available via web page. – Mikeon Nov 17 '09 at 8:32

MSI Files are just databases. You can easily take the contents of one and inspect it. If you were to look at the Remote App installs with Orca, you would find a File table entry, some Shortcuts and a couple Registry entries if you have any associations.

If you were to take the records from each of those tables, add it to another MSI, or better yet to a new MSI built with WiX, you could install an arbitrary number of remote applications at once.

MSI additionally exposes an API which would allow the whole process to be scripted.

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