Q&A : Application Repackaging-Part 1


My intention by publishing this post is to help the newbies to understand the basics about packaging and repackaging technologies.I hope it will be easy for you to  pickup the technology, if I describe it in a Q&A form.Kindly go through the questions and answers below.

Welcome aboard!!

1.What is Application Packaging?

Simply Application packaging means,the process of Creation of an Installation Program for a Software. Or we can say it as creation of a setup file. Setup.exe is an installation file, a program that puts all of the files and registry keys in the right places so that everything works correctly.

  2.What is Application Repackaging?

The process of creating a customized installation using an already packaged installation is termed as Re-packaging.

The setup routine can sometimes be very complex and open to user error especially when thousands of repeat installations are required in a corporate environment. In such environments reliability and repeatability are crucial.

Re-packaging is designed to support company standards and distribution methods. It supports very rapid and accurate way to do large scale deployments.

 3.Why Repackaging is required and what are the problems in Legacy Installation?

o Repackaging provides Customized Installation

o Repackaging helps to Reduce Support Costs

o Repackaging helps to implement all windows installer fetueres likeSelf Repair,Source Resiliency etc.

o Supports Unattended Install

o Saved Time and Effort Through Automated Installs

o Provides Application and Operating System Stability

Where as the legacy installation has mainly the following demerits;

o High Support Costs

o Fragile Installs and Uninstalls

o Difficult and labor Intensive to deploy

4.What are the steps of Repackaging?

o Receive the packaging requirement from the requestor.(It can be via email or project lifecycle mamangement tools etc.)

o Review packaging requirements with the Requestor

o Technically Review the request (Tech Review)

o Repackage the application with customized standards.

o Test the package.

o Document the package details.

o Upload for UAT (User Acceptance test)

o Release the package to end users(Live users)

5.What are the commonly used third party tools for repackaging application?

 Wise Package Studio

AdminStudio InstallShield

Prism Pack

E-Wrap Novadigm

Unity Installer

 6.Name some Deployment tools?

o Microsoft Systems Management Server (SMS)

o Radia

o Tivoli

o CA Desktop and server Management.

 7.Why do we need to use Repackager tools?

 In a traditional environment, Repackagers are used to customize an installation. For Windows Installer environments, repackagers such as InstallShield Repackager ,Wise setup capture etc.. are used to convert traditional setups to Windows Installer packages.

8.Why  a “Clean” System is important for Repackaging?

A clean system, which usually consists of the operating system only, is important when repackaging because you want to capture all additions and changes made by the installation. If you do not use a clean system, it is entirely possible that a previous installation may have placed files on your system that are also part of the installation you are repackaging. In that case, the installation may not install those files, and therefore Repackager never captures those files for the repackaged setup.

9.How Do I Repackage a Windows Installer Setup?

Microsoft recommends that Windows Installer setups not be repackaged. Instead, create transforms for the customisations.

10.How Can I Speed Up Repackaging?

Repackaging can be a time consuming process, because the way Repackager determines

the changes made by an installation requires both an initial analysis and a final analysis. The difference between these constitutes the changes made by the installation. But there are ways to speed up repackaging. First, if you know what directories are modified by the installation, you can limit both initial and final analysis to those directories only. Also, you can set up a detailed exclusion list for files, INI files, and registry entries, instructing what Repackager should ignore during both analysis phases.

[To be continued.. ]


76 Responses to “Q&A : Application Repackaging-Part 1”

  1. 1 Saranya November 4, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Give the steps for doing MST

    • 2 Balsaraj November 5, 2010 at 2:05 am

      MST can be created in different ways with respect to the tools which you are using and in the same tool itself you can approach different ways.
      1.In installshield create New Project -> Select “Transforms”-> then browse the MSI file which you want to edit.
      2.In wise studio, you can open the MSI itself and save as transforms.
      3.In orca,use create New transform option.

  2. 3 johnybasha shaik January 8, 2011 at 8:05 am

    i am having confession about legacy applications and installations plz clear me

    • 4 Balsaraj January 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

      Please mention the confession

      • 5 johnybasha shaik January 9, 2011 at 11:08 am

        what is legacy applications? how those diff from other applications ? i am starting stage in packaging in wise package studio clear me

        • 6 Balsaraj January 9, 2011 at 11:42 am

          legacy setup applications are non windows installer setups.These applications are required to capture and then create MSIs for the installation of these applications.
          In re-pckaging the applications are categorized as legacy setups and vendor MSIs.
          Some setups will be extracting vendor MSis.They also will be considered as vendor MSIs.

  3. 7 johnybasha shaik January 9, 2011 at 11:15 am

    what is actual use of setup capture ? if vendor given .msi why we don’t go for that?

    • 8 Balsaraj January 9, 2011 at 11:35 am

      In Simple language the answer is as follows;
      Setup capture is one of the important process in repackaging which helps to take the capture of what are all the diffrence the installation made on the system.
      The difference of initial snapshot and final will be the actual application.
      If u r using wise, the output of the capture will be .wsi file.After necessary modification on .wsi you can compile and create MSI.

      Vendor MSI we don’t capture as this is against the miscrosoft’s best practices.
      the Main reasons are;
      If we recapture the MSI, the GUID of the product and component will get change and if any patch or upgrade providing by the vendor will not be useful.Most of the vendor’s doesn’t support the application which is modified.
      Some of the Installation logics and customisations can also be missed if you create a new MSI from an exisiting one.

  4. 9 johnybasha shaik January 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    interview que:
    i have vendor given msi file.i want to find every thing abt this msi with out actually installing the msi. and i don’t have msi editor and internet connection also.what are the options?

    • 10 Balsaraj January 9, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      Up to an extend you can understand about the msi by doing a administrative install.(msiexec /a ).
      This will extract the files to the targetdir.
      Have you started to attend the interview ??? 🙂

  5. 11 johnybasha shaik January 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    in above que we don’t have access to administrative also. then what are all options we have?
    now i am learning wise studio after that i have to go interviews. will u help me?

    • 12 Balsaraj January 10, 2011 at 2:36 am

      An another option apart from administrative install is you can write a vscript to query the MSI database and fetch the details from MSI using windowsInstaller object.

      Its all depends on the logic the packager executes :-).
      Sure , I can help you for your interviews by sharing my knowledge.

  6. 13 johnybasha shaik January 10, 2011 at 10:01 am

    thanks ….
    why we do not repackage anti virus software? and some another also we have. what happens when we go for repackage i want internal process plz explane me?

    • 14 Balsaraj January 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      In an IT infrastructure, the commonly required applications will be making part of build it self.Antivirus normally will be a build application.
      Normally it won’t repackage, due to considering the facts reliability, security,complexity and the frequent updates ,and defenition files on these applications.antivirus will be centrally managed with client server architecture model.
      But even some of the antivirus clients are repackaged with vendor provided deployment methods.

  7. 15 johnybasha shaik January 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    int que:
    1)max how many files we can able to add to .msi?

    • 16 Balsaraj January 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

      With out changing the schema of msi database you can have 32767 files.
      The limits can be over come by splitting your setup into multiple CABs, possibly up to 64K * 2GB, or by placing your application files on the distribution disk uncompressed.

  8. 17 johnybasha shaik January 10, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    what is component rules ? use?

  9. 20 johnybasha shaik January 11, 2011 at 2:47 am

    tell briefly about registries? i know only basics abt registries. how those are useful while packaging & repackaging?

    • 21 Balsaraj January 11, 2011 at 10:18 pm

      Once you get hands on experience in package , you will be understanding what are all the registry keys to be included in the package. You will be preparing an exclusion list to handle this scenario.

      I will be soon posting a blog about regarding registry exclusion.

  10. 22 johnybasha shaik January 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    how the .msi data base structure will be?

  11. 24 johnybasha shaik January 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    How we can make two applications with same GUID to install on the same

  12. 26 johnybasha shaik January 20, 2011 at 2:49 am

    what is app-v? is it new version in package? what is advantages it has?

  13. 28 johnybasha shaik January 27, 2011 at 2:22 am

    1)what is diff b/w ADDLOCAL and ADDSOURCE ? give example . tell me particular situation when we go for each?
    i know some thing that 2 properties used to add futures to application.here i want to add 1 future to another msi. is it possible?
    2)i have one MSI and created PATCH applied it. i found message that patch is successful again restarted my PC this time a got message saying that some files are missing regarding that PATCH clear me what could be the problem? interview que it is.

  14. 30 johnybasha shaik February 1, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    what is the actual meaning of wrapper msi ? use?
    how can we create a wrapper msi? clear me plz

  15. 31 karthik February 7, 2011 at 9:18 am

    how to create wrapper msi? give step by step process?

  16. 33 karthik February 7, 2011 at 9:31 am

    i have msi with me. but i can’t install so that u will create wrapper msi for that msi.
    so plz clear me that doubt

  17. 34 jhohny basha February 7, 2011 at 9:36 am

    i have msi with me.while going installation one error came saying that need exe to run.then wht i should do???? tell me soon plzzzzzzzzz

    • 35 Balsaraj February 7, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      you need to set the property ISSETUPDRIVEN=1 ,if this property doesn’t work view the custom action whcih check the launch conditions and need to disable that CA

  18. 36 johnybasha shaik February 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    hi raj
    plz send solution for this
    i have one msi. while going to install i am getting one message saying that need exe to run this msi? so what will be the actual procedure tell me soooon plz

    • 37 Balsaraj February 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      disabling the setup check can be done by using the property ISSETUPDRIVEN.But even some of the MSI doesn’t work with this,on those occasions you need to find the launch conditions or custom action which look for the setup file.
      This can be easily find out with the help of a log file

  19. 38 johnybasha shaik February 8, 2011 at 3:31 am

    thank u mate.
    i have confusion about group policy and active directory.i have gone through many web sites.but i didnt understand what actually it is.being a learner i dont have LAN connections to find out that.i know something that using group policy we can give permissions to particular group of users.i am using xp os. clear me we can i go head with that???

    • 40 Balsaraj February 22, 2011 at 4:51 am

      Tech review is one of the important phase where you will analyse the provided source media and requirements.
      1.In the standard build install and configure the application as per the requirements provided in the application package request form.
      2.If any compatibility issue or any functionality issues or any clarification required in the requirements , clarify with the requester.

      Basically these two are the main process.The tech review process varies depends on the project standard process from organization to organization.

  20. 41 arjunsingh February 8, 2011 at 10:05 am

    how to do techreview in application repackaging

  21. 42 karuna February 18, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    What is the background mechanism of MSI and also about MST

  22. 43 Rajesh February 18, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    Explain briefly about scripts

  23. 44 Chandu February 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    What is verbose loging and clearly explain about log files

  24. 46 karuna February 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Explain the background mechanism of MSI and MST

  25. 48 Rajesh February 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Explain about scripts

  26. 50 johnybasha shaik March 2, 2011 at 4:17 am

    hi mate
    i have flash player pluging msi.and it has 1 file.so we must install it in admin and user. after installation in admin i can able to see it in internet browser->tool->add on button.but in the case of user i unable to getting that .ocx file what will be the problem? tell me soon

  27. 52 johnybasha shaik March 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    i am trying active setup only.for this setup i am adding HKLM,HKCU regs and one property called ActiveSetupVersion=4,0,8.
    i am making productverstion as ActiveSetupVersion.and instread of fullstops i am making commas(.)(,). is it the ole hprocess of active setup? and some thing i have to do tell me

  28. 53 johnybasha shaik March 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    i have to say thanks to u Raj.because of u only i got job.
    now i am getting so many kinds of problems.i un able to ask all questions 2 u.tell me a good reference book r give me u r valueble suggestion.what can i do?

  29. 54 johnybasha shaik March 3, 2011 at 4:13 am

    in active set up
    [HKLM\software\microsoft\Activesetup\Installedcomponets\{component id}]
    Value 1,value2, and some times @=xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Stubpath,value1,value2,Nomodify=000000@=xxxxx, like that some attributes we r using what is actual resion.clear me kindy plz dont give any websits to find out solution.

  30. 55 Sreejith Bharathan April 8, 2011 at 7:06 am

    Hi Jhony,

    Active Setup is used in an MSI if you have user specific entries and the MSI doesnt have any entry points. By entry points i mean it can be a file association, shortcut etc..

    How it works:
    Active setup gets executed for the first time the user logs in into the machine after the package is installed.

    I will explain it with an example.
    Suppose you have an active setup key in your package.
    When users logs into the machine, the same hive is searched for in the HKCU registry. ie,
    If this registry hive is missing then the value that you have specified in the “Stubpath” will get executed.
    Which means the repair command for the MSI will be specified in “Stubpath”.
    Once the Active setup is executed, it will create the hive in HKCU so that repair doesnt happen for the next time that user logs in.

  31. 56 sreenivas May 2, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Please provide the information regarding to ADDIN’s and Driver Applications with brief examples


  32. 57 johnybasha shaik May 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    hi raj,

    after long time i am asking u 2 one question. i have a problem unsigned drivers application.that is captured application. i captured the application and created msi.so after installing my msi drivers not getting installing.tell me how to proceed with out using AUTOIT(to suppress daiogue box)

  33. 59 johnybasha shaik May 23, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    hi mate

    i gone through the document but my driver application installing fine after adding dpinst.exe.but my problem while installing at the first time its showing prompt that driver install or not. i need to suppress that dailog box.previously we are using autoit for that now we shouuld not use thatso with out using that how we gong to suppress that tell me ASAP plzzz

  34. 62 johnybasha shaik May 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Hi mate

    every time i am facing problem with silent switchs to install application if is small appcation then we can go with some silent switchs like /s /silent /q ….
    but if its complex means difficult to search config file r some more inputs. i am asking is there any easy way to find silent switchs that what ever input we are giving to app that should make note in any any place r any config file can we create?
    if its there means let me clear plz

  35. 63 Vaandita Pandit September 5, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Pls :Let me know the default directories of following:
    Merge Module,Shared DLL,Installation files?
    Which system file is responsible for giving permission?

    • 64 Johny Basha Shaik August 11, 2012 at 2:54 am

      Merge Modules —— >C:\Program Files\Common Files
      shared DLL will ——> c:\windows\system32
      installation Files ——-> INSTALLDIR its depends on application..

  36. 65 anil March 31, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    hello sir
    what is different between vendor msi and msi

  37. 66 johnybasha shaik August 10, 2012 at 9:25 am

    hi mate,

    could u please share the document for handling the unsigned drivers.

    i asked this question before. like as follows , please provide the same document again its very much useful
    hi raj,

    after long time i am asking u 2 one question. i have a problem unsigned drivers application.that is captured application. i captured the application and created msi.so after installing my msi drivers not getting installing.tell me how to proceed with out using AUTOIT(to suppress daiogue box)


    58 Balsaraj
    May 20, 2011 at 8:44 am
    Hope, the document whcih I sent over the email helped you.

    this document

  38. 67 sn August 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Hi Raj,

    what is SecureCustomProperties property? It’s role?
    Please reply….


  39. 68 suresh September 21, 2012 at 5:14 am

    Hi sir,
    I need help from you,as i am starting my career in application packaging i am having some trouble to understand the things,please help me out with some basics of application packaging.
    My Email id:suresh3229@gmail.com.help would be appreciate…….
    thanks in advance.

  40. 69 suresh September 21, 2012 at 5:16 am

    hi all,
    please help me out with some basic document about application packaging.as i require it urgently.
    My Email id:suresh3229@gmail.com.help would be appreciate…….
    thanks in advance.

  41. 70 Prabhakar Reddy October 9, 2012 at 6:26 am

    The blogs are very nice… Those are helped me alot

    Thank you So much all of you.

  42. 71 microsoft points April 1, 2013 at 7:03 am

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    having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet smart so I’m not
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  43. 72 microsoft excel worksheet April 8, 2013 at 9:45 am

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  44. 73 raj April 18, 2013 at 5:54 am

    it is great ,iam getting lot of information from this .thnk u balsaraj

  45. 74 ram June 12, 2013 at 4:26 am

    HI SIR,
    can u give the solution for handling the signed and unsigned drivers ……..

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