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  • MSI packaging tools

    I want to repackage some programs from .exe into MSI format for distribution via group policy but am having trouble finding suitable tools. I have been googling but haven't had much luck finding what I want yet. Ideally I'd like to use something simple and free/open source.

    I tried WinInstallLE 2003 but that is no longer free and it's packages are tainted with expiry, so I went back to try the WinInstallLE 2000 version that was shipped on the Windows 2000 server cdrom. Unfortunately it fails to package, leaving the thing in an .nai format, complaining about invalid .reg name in the package (I tried several times with a simple name no spaces but no luck).

    I've also looked at AdvancedInstaller from Caphyon which isn't too bad, but requires you to know all the program files and registry change needed to install the program, and NInstall which seems to basically be an editor for the underlying tech details that I have time to deal with.

    What I am looking for is for something that will basically take a snapshot, I use the setup.exe to install the application and it does another snapshot to diff the two snapshots. This would be the easiest and best way and it also means the application doesn't have to be complicated with loads of features that I don't have time to use.

    Any recommendations?

  • #2
    Re: MSI packaging tools

    I tried some months ago to do this procedure (snapshot before, installation and snapshot after), the result was not good. This is the painful subject, I'm stuck too.
    I only use GPO installation for applications that provide MSI or for packages I build myself.
    A very good place for MSI-related stuff is AppDeploy. Take a look, you might find some answers there.

    Sorin Solomon


    In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
    -

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    • #3
      Re: MSI packaging tools

      ok thanks, I'm off to investigate...

      I think this is one of microsoft's obvious shortcomings and one they are holding over us to force us to upgrade in the future and then release a freeware msi product as an add-in to encourage people to buy a new version citing extra benefit and cost saving.... just a hunch...

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      • #4
        Re: MSI packaging tools

        Originally posted by humbletech99 View Post
        one they are holding over us to force us to upgrade in the future
        I really don't think so.
        It should be the application's writer who should give us the MSI package. For most Microsoft's products there is an MSI package available. And I read articles stating that more and more companies are providing MSIs for their products.
        The overall picture in this subject is getting brighter. Let's hope our lives will be easier in the future
        Keep us posted.

        Sorin Solomon


        In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.
        -

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        • #5
          Re: MSI packaging tools

          I agree that everyone knows MSI is the way to go, and it's not exactly a new technoology, it's been around for 7 years. So I would have thought there would be a good and easy way to repackage applications that still use setup.exe type things. Most of the programs I have downloaded from sourceforge for example still use setup.exe. Of course there are also older programs that are either not in active development or were release before MSI became all the rage...

          I'll post back if I find anything suitable.

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          • #6
            Re: MSI packaging tools

            You are right in that I needed to install SMS server 2003 for this issue.

            Our enviroment requires too much .exe installations, so now I am using the SMS server to cellect inventory and to install exe applications.

            That costed me around 2 or 3 days reading the manuals and Microsoft recommendations for SMS.

            We are also developing the issue of Imaging our hard disk, that way all the softwares needed are installed from the image and not over the Network.
            Best regards,
            Mostafa Itani

            ** Remember to give credit where credit is due and leave reputation points where appropriate **

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