MSI stands for Microsoft Installer, and it refers to a file format and technology used for installing, maintaining, and managing software applications on Microsoft Windows operating systems. An MSI installer package contains all the necessary information and resources needed to install a software application, including files, settings, and instructions for the installation process.
If you have an MSI Installer of an application which you want to deploy using Intune. Then you have below two options to choose from:
- Use Line of Business app type to deploy MSI Installer based application.
- Use Windows app (Win32 app) method to deploy MSI Installer based application.
If the Installation process of an application is not that complex and does not require custom scripts or .mst file (transform file) then you can use Line of business app type option to deploy MSI Installer on end user devices. Line-of-business app method is a straightforward and easy when it comes to deployment of a MSI app
If the Installation process of an application is complex e.g. It requires scripts and additional files to install the application, then you can go with Windows app (Win32 app) deployment method.
Line-of-business (LOB) app and Microsoft Store for Business apps are the app types supported on Windows 10 and Windows 11 devices. The file extensions for Windows apps include .msi, .appx, and .appxbundle.
Steps to deploy MSI application using Microsoft Intune
As discussed in previous sections, I am going with Line of business app option because I have a simple MSI Installer based application to deploy on target devices. The Installer I am going to use as an example is an application called RingCentral. Below steps will work for any other MSI Installer as well.
- Login to Microsoft Intune admin center
- Go to Apps > All Apps > click on + Add button to Add the application.
- Select App type as Line-of-business app.
- Click on blue folder Icon and browse to the MSI Installer file downloaded on your device. Click on OK button to proceed.
Please provide below information on App Information form:
- Name – Provide a unique name of the application. This name will show up on the Company portal app
- Description – You can use this field to provide your users with Information / Instructions which could help end users while Installing and managing this application from Company portal app
- Publisher – This is to Identify the publisher of the application. Please provide one if its not pre-populated for you.
- App Install context – This will depend upon the application MSI Installer. If the app allows user based Installation then you will be able to select this option. Otherwise it will be pre-selected and greyed out.
- Ignore App version: Select Ignore app version to Yes or No based on below criteria:
- Select Ignore app version = Yes If you want to app to be Installed when its not found on the target device. If the app is already there but the version number is different, it will be ignored and app will not be deployed.
- Select Ignore app version = No If you want to app to be Installed when its not found on the target device or the app version you are deploying is different than the one already Installed on the target device.
- Command-line arguments: Any command line switches you want to specify can be included in this field.
- Category – You can choose a category to organize application on the company portal app.
- Show this as a featured app in the Company Portal: If you want to make this app as featured app on the company portal then select Yes. Otherwise keep the default option selected which is No.
- Information URL – This provides information about the application. You can provide a link which user’s can click on to get more information about this application
- Privacy URL – Provide a link here which users can click on and find information about Privacy settings and Policies.
- Developer – Provide a name of the company or a person who has developed this app
- Owner – Provide a name of the person who manages this app in your organization. This could be IT team name or an Individual who manages licensing etc
- Notes – Provides additional information about this app which could be helpful for the users
- Logo – Upload a logo that’s associated with the app. This logo will appear next to the app on Company Portal.
Create an Azure AD Security group which contains users or devices on which we need to deploy this app. If you prefer a more controlled deployment to specific devices only, then make sure to target only devices via Azure AD group. Once your testing is successful and you want to deploy this script on all Organization devices, you can click on + Add all devices.
There are three assignments options available for deployment of Windows MSI Line-of-business app. Please find below:
- Required – If you add any user or device into required assignment group then app installation on the device will be mandatory and it will also be deployed as soon as the next Intune device check-in process completes.
- Available for enrolled devices – If you add any user or device into “Available for enrolled devices” assignment group then the application will be available for Installation from company portal app / website. It will not be Installed unless user will login on company portal app / website and click on Install button.
- Uninstall – Adding users or devices into this assignment group will Uninstall the application from the target devices.
I have added an Azure AD group called Cloudinfra Windows devices into the Required assignment group which contains windows 10 and windows 11 devices.
Review + Create
On Review + Create tab, review the app deployment and click on Create. As soon as you click on create button, application will upload into Intune and deployment will be started at the next device check-in.
Intune Policy Refresh Cycle
The Device will Sync / Check in to start app deployment process. It may take some time for the process to start. Therefore, if you are testing it on a test device, you can force initiate Intune refresh cycle on the device which will speed up the download and installation process. You can also use Powershell to force initiate Intune refresh cycle.
Also, you can restart the device first which also starts the device check-in process. Manual sync is not mandatory on user’s devices as the device check-in process happens automatically. But if you are testing this setting on a test device then this can speed up your testing and can save some time.
Monitoring of MSI app deployment
You can check the status of MSI app deployment from Intune admin center by following below steps:
- Login on Microsoft Intune admin center
- Click on Apps > All apps
- Click on the app deployment and check the Overview tab to find Device status and User status.
- Click on Device install status, User install status under monitor to get the status of app deployment per device and per user.
End user Experience
It didn’t take much time to deploy this application on target devices. I waited for less than 10 minutes and the app was deployed on my device. It was really quick and easy. Once the app is deployed, you can confirm the installation either by checking desktop shortcuts (If app has created one) or by using Programs and features and finding your app in the list to confirm.
Below screenshot is from Programs and features on a windows 10 device which shows that the app has been installed successfully.
Uninstall MSI Installer based application using Intune
In previous sections of this blog post, I have provided the steps to deploy MSI Installer based application using Intune. Now we will use the same app deployment created on Intune admin center and target the devices under Uninstall assignment. Please follow below steps to uninstall MSI app from devices via Intune.
- Login to Microsoft Intune admin center
- Go to Apps > All Apps > Click on the app deployment you have created.
- Click on Properties under Manage
- Click on Edit next to Assignments.
- Target the users or devices under Uninstall assignment section.
Please make sure that the same device is not included in Uninstall assignment as well as Required assignment, otherwise the app may install and uninstall in a loop and consume unnecessary resources.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
1. Is there any way to retrieve uploaded MSI file on Intune
Once you create an app deployment package on Intune admin center and upload application MSI Installer or exe Installer file, there is no way to download it from Intune admin center. However, you can retrieve it from the client device. I have provided the steps to retrieve MSI / Win32 app setup files from a client device in my other blog post: Retrieve MSI / Win32 app setup files uploaded on Intune.
2. How to find MSI Installer silent command line switches
To find Silent installation options for any MSI installer. You can download the msi Installer from vendors website and run it with
/? switch from powershell console or windows command prompt. This will pop-up with all the parameters / switches which are available for use with this MSI file. For example:
3. How to find Intune logs for MSI app deployment
You will need to check the logs for troubleshooting if there are any issues with application deployment. The app deployment logs are stored in a file called IntuneManagementExtension.log which is stored at C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\IntuneManagementExtension\Logs location. Please make sure to open the most recent log file by sorting it with Date modified column. The best way to read any .log file is to use CMTrace tool.
In this blog post, we have seen how to deploy MSI Installer based application using Intune admin center. We have also see where to find the Intune logs related to MSI app deployment. Uninstallation of the application is also easy when you are using MSI Line of business app option. You can simply uninstall the application by targeting in Uninstall assignment section.