Category Archives: msi self healing mechanism

What is Self Healing

Self-healing is the ability of Windows Installer to detect and repair any critical resources that are
required for the user to successfully launch and use the application. Every resource of a package
is not checked during self-healing. Because self-healing occurs as the application is launched,
exhaustive checking of every resource would lead to excessive wait times.


Earlier we discussed how Windows Installer performs basic actions (install, uninstall, and so on)
on lists of Components. We also discussed how these lists of Components were specified by a
list of Features. Self-healing follows this approach as well.


Self-healing, install-on-demand, and user profile fix-up are all variations on the same
functionality provided by Windows Installer. Windows Installer is asked to find the appropriate
software application when an entry point is activated by a user (usually double-clicking a
shortcut or document type). If Windows Installer finds the software is not yet installed, it will
immediately install it. If the software is installed, it will be verified by self-healing. In both cases,
this happens at the Feature level.

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