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Chapter 7.3. Windows Installer > Components, Features, and Products

Components, Features, and Products

Instead of working with individual files and Registry entries, the Windows Installer works with components, features, and products.

Components are the smallest building blocks used by Windows Installer. A component is a collection of files, Registry entries, and shortcuts that are installed or uninstalled as a single unit. For example, the Registry entries and .dlls, which make up the Spelling Checker in Microsoft Office, are a component. Files, Registry entries, and shortcuts are never part of more than one component. This prevents conflicts created when different programs install or uninstall the same component. Because there is no overlap between components, it doesn't matter whether the same component is installed twice. Different features can make use of the same component, but different components can't make use of the same file. This allows for transaction-based installation, which also facilitates rollback. It also supports installation on first use. Components are created and handled by programmers who create the software. End users interact with Windows Installer at the Feature level and do not need to concern themselves with specific components.


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