How To: Create a transform .MST file for the ArcGIS Desktop and Engine Developer Kit setups


This article pertains to ArcGIS versions 9.x and 10.0 only. Later versions of ArcGIS may contain different functionality, as well as different names and locations for menus, commands and geoprocessing tools.

The information provided below describes how to create a basic transform for the ArcGIS Desktop Developer Kit setup and the ArcGIS Engine Developer Kit setup using ORCA, a free tool available from the MSI SDK.

ORCA is no longer available for download or supported by Microsoft.

For more information on deploying managed ArcGIS setups, refer to ESRI Technical Paper: Deploying Managed ArcGIS 9 Setups.


Transform (.MST) files are used to customize setups created using Microsoft Installer (MSI) technology. An .MST file can be used to install ArcGIS products with pre-determined parameters without Graphical User Interface or user interaction. The .MSI file and the .MST file are then used to deploy ArcGIS products. The .MST file customizes the properties of an ArcGIS MSI package; this can include the installation location and features to install.

The instructions below include information on changing the features selected for installation and changing the default installation location using ORCA. Use any or all of the parameters as needed.

  1. Download and install the Windows Installer SDK v. 2.0.
  2. Navigate to the installation location and launch Orca.msi from the \bin folder.
  3. The Orca.msi launches the Orca setup program. Once the setup program is complete, an Orca shortcut is added to the start menu.
  4. Open the setup.msi in ORCA.
  5. On the main toolbar, navigate to Transform > New Transform.
  6. Customize the transform using the information described below.

To change the features selected for installation:

To add features, select the features to install and change the Level from level 4 to level 3 in the Feature table.

The primary feature of any sub-features also needs to be specified to be installed. For example, to install the Samples feature, then the Software_Developer_Kit feature would also need to be changed from a level 4 to a level 3.

In ArcGIS 9.x only, to install the .NET feature for ArcGIS Desktop Developer Kit, as well as edit the DotNet feature in the feature table, edit the DotNet feature in the Condition Table by also changing the Level from a level 4 to a level 3.
To remove features, select the features not to be installed and change the Level from level 3 to level 4 in the Feature table.
By default a typical installation is selected.

To change the default installation location:

For ArcGIS 9.x users:

  1. In the installExecuteSequence table, add a row. The values for the fields are:
  • Condition: ESRI_ARCGISDIR="NULL"
  • Sequence: 1020
  1. In the CustomAction table, add a row. The values for the fields are
  • Type: 35
  • Source: INSTALLDIR
  • Target: C:\ArcGIS9 (or any other value)

The Action name can be changed, but the name used must be the same in both tables.

Changing the installation location is only applied if the product is the first ArcGIS 9 product being installed. If an ArcGIS 9 product has already been installed, all subsequent products are installed to this location.

For ArcGIS 10.x users:

  1. In the CustomAction table, select the GetSDKDir Action to modify it.
  2. Change the Target value of the GetSDKDir Action from [InstallDir] to the desired installation location. For example, C:\SDK\ (this installs the ArcObjects SDK to C:\SDK\DeveloperKit10.0). The first ArcObjects 10 SDK installed determines the location of all subsequent ArcObjects 10 SDKs (including ArcGIS Server 10 Web Applications).
With ArcGIS 10.x, changing the installation location can be applied to any ArcObjects SDK installed; however, if installing more than one ArcObjects SDK on the same machine, the first ArcObjects SDK installed determines the installation location for subsequent ArcObjects SDKs.

To create the .MST file

When the transform is completed, navigate to Transform > Generate Transform on the main toolbar to create the .MST file.

Related Information

Last Published: 1/11/2021

Article ID: 000007725

Software: ArcGIS Engine Developer Kit 9.3.1, 9.3, 9.2, 9.1, 9.0.1, 9.0, 10 ArcGIS-ArcInfo 9.3.1, 9.3, 9.2, 9.1, 9.0, 10 ArcGIS Engine 9.3.1, 9.3, 9.2, 9.1, 9.0.1, 9.0, 10.8.1, 10.8, 10.7.1, 10.7, 10.6.1, 10.6, 10.5.1, 10.5, 10.4.1, 10.4, 10.3.1, 10.3, 10.2.2, 10.2.1, 10.2, 10.1, 10