Hi everyone, sorry if this message is redundant, but could someone recommend a Good (and fairly easy to use) MSI Packger,repackager?  We currently own Advanced Installer but i have had 0 success rate on it.  We are wanting to use AD Software Push and all the apps need to be MSI format. 


Answer Summary:
EVEEN and Rileyz, Thanks guys you gave me a lot to research.. Ill start "Playing" and see what I come up with.. Thanks again.
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  • Unfortunate to hear you have problems with the AI. Best contact the vendor (and have you visited their support site/forum?)
    You can always try a new machine and setup the system fresh. Might be you just got unlucky and have a buggy install.
  • Oh, one source of mayor repackaging headache is the "follow the bitcount of the OS" feature of the repackager. If you run repackager on a 64 bit system and repackage your apps and then deploy tme to 32 bit (x86) machines there are weird issues. Always use as package development machine the correct OS your clients wil use. So if they use W7-32, package on W7-32! http://www.advancedinstaller.com/user-guide/using.html

    Good luck. And if Advanced Installer is not your thing join the AdminStudio side!
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Community Chosen Answer


Advaced Installer does the trick if you want to capture a setup and have an msi output. It takes some learning as do all tools to get your capturemachines in order and kick out needless trash from your projects.

I fear that just another tool isn't going to be the solution. Fork out for some training would be a better option.

But you can't go wrong with AdminStudio. The Standard version should be fine as this has a repackager. With support and updates to protect your investment. The Pro, enterprise and virt-pack can be bought later.


Answered 11/12/2013 by: EVEEN
Green Belt

  • Thanks, It seems that Advanced Installer does not offer any training, just tutorials, and they don't help that much.
    • The product is actually quite good. What are the problems you have with the output? Any particular problem that's regular?
      • Its a number of things really. The package build "appears" to build fine, When I go to test it...thats when the fun starts. It either had files it can't write to, Shortcuts appear to be broken. the App just doesn't function properly.
    • Just a re to the below. Did you clean up the package after you captured it? You normally have to cut all the crap out after a capture, theres alway junk that gets caught in it.
      • So AI has no exclusion list(s)?!?! Seriously?
      • Unfortunately, I am a novice when it comes to MSI packages, I guess that is why I want the "Easy" approach. I am not sure what exactly needs to be cleaned up.
    • Ahhhh, your new to this! It just comes with experiance, if you have a strong support background for desktops dating back to XP you should be OK, even with Win7 you should be OK. Just play around with it, you will get the hang of what to remove and what not after awhile. You get the jist what of what files are part of the installer. Open a normal vendor MSI and you will see what I mean.

      When you do a capture you normally get a lot of junk, I try and remove the junk in two passes. 1st pass i remove the stuff that i know is junk, other stuff im not sure i leave it in the package. In the testing phase I start remove the rest if it, hopefully by the end of it you have a pretty clean package.

      Have a read of this, its for Wise Package Studio, its dead, but the theory still stands.

      And here is a example exclusion list to give you an idea. So this kinda junk will not be added into the package on capture.

      On a side note, its kinda better to have some of the junk than you through you exclusion net too wide - as you might exclude some files which ARE part of the package.

      Try repackaging something simple like Winzip, or 7Zip.

      Starting off on a complex package will just blow your mind.
      • The advanced installer documentation is quite good.

        If you don't know your way around filesystem, profilelocations and registry check wiki on those issues first.

        You could then start here: http://www.advancedinstaller.com/user-guide/using.html.

        After you have created your first setup-capture for a simple application just go through the files an registry with one question in mind: Could this be part of the setup or could this be trash. If its in folders and registry hives with the vendorname or application name you are mostly right to assume it;s ok. If its called temp, mru, cache etc it's mostly junk.
        In doubt? Google.
        Still in doubt? Test

        Same if you run into 'new' topics as the apps get more complex like mergemodule, odbc, classes, services.
        If there are things that need to be done after the files, folders end reg's have been or prepare actions before you make these changes look into custom actions.

        With these steps you should be up and running in short time.

        Write down what you learn, keep a log of your effort and keep using this site for info. For most apps you will find deployment tips and packager hints.

        And best lesson: if it's already an msi: don't repackage, make a transform.
      • >Try repackaging something simple like Winzip, or 7Zip.
        Er...no, not WinZip, as it's already an MSI.

        Best second lesson: for MSI installations which are wrapped in an EXE, always, always, always, ALWAYS perform a gap-capture/re-run of the original installer. That way, you can ensure that your package includes everything that the original EXE would have done. Vendors just *love* to catch out the unwary with crap like configuring the app outside of the MSI, normally because "that's the way our build works" or "that's the way we've always done it."
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The cheapest flavour of AI that includes a repackaging tool that i can find cost you almost $1,000. You're going to throw that away and start again?!?! For that price, what help have you sought from the vendor?

Answered 11/12/2013 by: VBScab
Red Belt

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