AppDeploy Repackager FAQ


Does this replace the need for tools like AdminStudio and Package Studio?

That is not the intention of the AppDeploy Repackager. Admin suites like these offer much more functionality for the thousands of dollars you pay for them. AppDeploy Repackager serves to produce a simple MSI setup based on file and registry values only from changes detected during a standard snapshot process. For editing an MSI database, it is recommended that you try InstEd. For a more detailed list of what the AppDeploy Repackager does and does not do, see below.

Why did you create the AppDeploy Repackager?

For simple editing of MSI databases, we have ORCA and more recently InstEd (as a recommended alternative) as free tools that may be leveraged. You would not create a complex setup using such tools, but they are helpful when viewing and editing. On the other hand, repackaging is often an afterthought of setup tools and as part of such a feature rich suite end up being quite expensive. The AppDeploy Repackager was created to offer the community two things:

  • A simple freeware repackager
  • A means of sharing packages with others in the community

How do I use the AppDeploy Repackager?

While the intention is to make documentation less and less necessary with each release through an increasingly intuitive wizard interface, some quick documentation for the current release may be found here.

What does the AppDeploy Repackager do?

The AppDeploy Repackager has two basic functions: creating project files based on a system snapshot and the creation of a project file and Windows Installer setup.

  • It performs a snapshot of the file and registry systems before and after an installation is performed in order to determine the intended changes of the setup being repackaged
  • An exclusion list is included, and may be easily updated, to automatically disregard desired folders and registry items
  • The exclusion list feature offers a description field so you can document such items.
  • It generates a shareable project file
  • It generates an MSI setup (based on the contents of the project file)
  • The tool can create a MSI

What does the AppDeploy Repackager NOT do?

  • It does not include the ability to view or edit an MSI file
  • It handles only file and registry data. Therefore more complex setups requiring the following may fail to perform as expected:
    • Services
    • Device drivers
    • Environment variables

Also note that the file and registry is saved during initial and second snapshots. These saved copies are what is used to determine changes (comparison is not done against the live file system or registry). Processing of DLL’s and ActiveX object that can not be identified via registry or file system changes may result in registration issues.

Why can the AppDeploy Repackager project files be shared?

Unlike most such project files, the AppDeploy Repackager utilizes a specialized format designed to contain no personal information or binaries. Included in the project file are simply pointers to source files and registry values which are collected from the local system at the time an MSI is built. No registry data means no serial numbers or other personally identifiable information will be a concern.

To utilize such a project file, you need simply install, license and configure the software as desired and then build an MSI file using the shared project file (eliminating the need to perform a snapshot as well as the review process required to exclude any problematic/undesired items).

Where do I download and upload AppDeploy Repackager project files?

Eventually a portal will be provided to upload, download, rate and comment on shared AppDeploy Repackager project files. Until then, a special forum has been setup at AppDeploy to support the sharing of these project files.

How do I create an AppDeploy Repackager project file?

When you Create a project file based on system changes a project file is automatically generated as part of the process. By default the project file is created with the name and version of the application being repackaged and is stored in a subdirectory named "packages" based on the root folder from which the AppDeploy Repackager was launched. Project files use the XML file extension (and may be reviewed or even edited your favorite text editor).

How do I make use of an AppDeploy Repackager project file?

To make use of an AppDeploy Repackager project file, you need simply install, license and configure the software as desired. When ready, run the AppDeploy Repackager and choose Build package based from project file to generate an MSI file based on the local system's file and registry data (eliminating the need to perform a snapshot as well as the review process required to exclude any problematic/undesired items).

What community tips and tricks exist for AppDeploy Repackager?

There is this helpful YouTube video from Walking Help Desk and another community member has documented how to use AppDeploy Repackager in German.

Know of another contribution? Please let us know!


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