Installing an MSI in Compatibility Mode (Orca hack)

Every once in awhile you may run across an installer with very particular ideas about the system it allows itself to be installed on. Typically, you would simply go to the properties of the file and enable “Compatibility Mode” and let Windows fool the installer into believing it is running a different version of Windows.

However, with an MSI file, this is not possible. To install an MSI on a non-supported operating system, you have to use a Microsoft utility known as Orca which can be downloaded here.

I ran into a couple of minor set backs when I tried this the first time, so here are my instructions in a step-by-step fashion.

  1. Install Orca
  2. Open your MSI file in Orca. (Right click on the file and click “Edit in Orca” or open Orca and go to File-> Open)
  3. Look for an entry in the list on the left called LaunchCondition.
  4. When you cilck on LaunchCondition, the pane on the right will update. Most instructions I found indicated that you should see a list of conditions on the right and one of them should say something about VersionNT. Unfortunately, this was not the case for my installer.
  5. For my installer, I had to find the entries for InstallExecuteSequence and InstallUISequence.  Both of these had conditions specifying (NOT VersionNT = 600). (It was more elaborate than that, but you need to look for something like this.)
  6. Remove both of these entries.
  7. Click Tools -> Options.  Find the Database tab on the right. Check the box for “Copy embedded streams during Save As”.
  8. Click File->Save As and choose something like MyInstaller-mod.msi
  9. EXIT ORCA (if you do not, the installer will appear to be corrupt…it took me 20 minutes to figure this out :) )

These are the steps I used to install vmcNetflix on Windows 7.  Your mileage may vary.  Whatever the case, you should be able to find a condition that displays an error message if the version of Windows = x.

Good luck!


  1. Sean says

    This hack is awesome! Thank you very much. You saved me a ton of time. I don’t know why Windows didn’t just allow compatibility mode for msi’s as well.

  2. Yoshie says

    Thankyou sooooooooo much. I used it to install windows multipoint sdk (which requires vista or xp sp2) on my xp sp3! Weird hey!

  3. Jesse says

    props to you my friend. I was installing my m-audio firewire solo card in hackintosh and it did some automatic firmware update that crashes halfway and I thought my card was toast. I booted into my Win2k3 partition and used orca to install the sound card drivers that were otherwise not compatible and the firmware update completed and ressurected my expensive hardware. Thanks!

  4. Greg says

    Yeah… this didn’t help me. It still just says “Previous Version of Windows” in the comaptibility mode. Darnit.


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