hi i have some basic questions like if we are working as a application packager when we got an application for packaging what should be the right approach? as per my knowledge do they provide setup.exe or vendor msi? if we got setup.exe how to extract msi from it? and if we got vendor msi what to do with that package? how to check whether the package supports for silent installations and is it mandatory to do silent installations each and every time? i am reading a lot about packaging but not getting one perfect approach in which directions i should move so its more confusion

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Use 7Zip to extract the msi from setup.exe.

You can also have a look at my blog and FAQ's here:


Answered 08/27/2012 by: piyushnasa
Red Belt

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Here's a good place to start: http://www.itninja.com/blog/view/are-you-studying-for-an-interview-on-application-packaging

Answered 08/26/2012 by: jknox
Red Belt

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One of the first things I do if I get a setup.exe is open a CMD prompt and enter

"path\to\folder\setup.exe" /? or /help

This will generally give you all the switches that it supports.

If you start the setup.exe manually, open explorer and type %temp%. This will get you all the extracted files from the exe. It will usually contain the msi.

If the vendor provided you with a msi then you can install silently with

msiexec /i path\to\folder\name.msi /qn

. If there are certain items in that msi that you do not need create a transform to add/remove what it needed.

Answered 08/27/2012 by: dugullett
Red Belt

  • thanks dugullett
    • one more question if it does not support "path\to\folder\setup.exe" /? or /help. its giving error. what it means ? it does not have the MSI?
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"It depends".  Are you a contract packager or employee?  If contract, your client will tell you what they want, and you do that.  That sounds harsh, I know, but our clients pay us to do what they want us to do.  

Ideally, we want to limit the way that end users can mess up the installation.  Not that I don't like users; they're the reason I have a job.  But given the opportunity to do something wrong, someone will inevitably take that course and make extra work that we could prevent.  Every place I've worked at has wanted to have the install be non-interactive with a progress bar to the end user. 

That's not mandatory but it seems to be the best way to deliver apps.  Let the customer see something's going on so they don't feel the need to call the Help Desk, but at the same time make the install happen the way it was configured to do so it's consistent across the enterprise.   

In the end, it's our job as packagers to automate as much as we can while reducing incidents related to installation.  How you do that is up to you - there are practices that work better than others to that end. 

With respect to the question of what's provided - again "it depends".  Internally-developed stuff can be an excellently-designed MSI, or it can be a hodgepodge of included merge modules, system files, and other messy things.  Some vendors give us good MSIs and some give us broken MSIs.  Some still provide setup.exe fils and some give us Java-based installs.   Look around the software list on this site - there are a lot of installs that are messy.  It's our job to figure out how to automate them to install consistently and correctly while limiting inconvenience to the end user.

Answered 08/27/2012 by: Arminius
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