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See also: How do I create a log file of my installation?
Windows Installer log files tend to be both verbose and cryptic. Richard Macdonald of the Windows Installer team at Microsoft has posted a great article in his blog to help developers understanding MSI logs. He starts with some general information how to activate logging and about the general syntax of the log file. But the best part in my opinion is the annotated log file he posted. I highly recommend reading his article:
How to Interpret Windows Installer Logs
Note: The link to the annotated Windows Installer log file in the above blog post is broken, but the file can be found here.
There just one bit I'd like to add regarding the log syntax. Richard explains what the lines tagged with (c) and (s) mean (client and server process, respectively), but there's a third tag: (N) for nested. Nested install custom actions are deprecated, but (N) also applies to the automatic uninstall of the old product version during a Major Upgrade.
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