Software Deployment Question

Which MSI packaging tool?

01/22/2007 16415 views
Hi, sorry and please forgive my noobiness here, this is my first post but I am having trouble finding a nice MSI packaging application.

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?
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All Answers

Everyone has their own preferences... I use Installshield to edit/add custom actions, add App Searches - ( i think they have a snapshot feature, I don't use it though)

I use ORCA (which is Free in the Windows Installer SDK, i believe) to do any table editing of any kind - It also always for you to see the changes that an MST/MSP are going to make to your installation - i personally like how ORCA shows what was changed, because it marks the box with a color( allows for a quicker glance to see changes)

For repackaging from EXE to MSI, I use REFWI (Radia Extenstion for Windows Installer) - it's a great product - might take a little getting use to but it works... It's part of HP's openview products ( at least that is where I think they stuck it) - I believe the product can be purchased seperate from the rest of the Radia client/Server setup...

Hope this helps
Answered 01/22/2007 by: gmorgan618
Blue Belt

well I was looking for something small and free really, all I want is to snapshot, install, snapshot --> generate msi. That's it. WinInstall LE used to be the quoted thing for this but it isn't working for me. I'm having numberous ugly errors, the thing is awful and the snapshot Veritas Discovery thing isn't generating MSIs most of the time and when it does, they don't do anything or install anything when run.
Answered 01/22/2007 by: humbletech99
Senior Yellow Belt

Did u try Wise Studio Evaluation version??
Answered 01/23/2007 by: Vna
Senior Yellow Belt

As far as ur requirements is concerned, I think Macrovision's adminstudio will work for u. It has two methods for performing repackaging one is install monitoring and one more is snapshot method. Since u want to take a snap shot before and after the install the snapshot method will really work for u. And as far as creating an msi is concerned it is very simple once the snap shot process is over the next step is created an msi itself. This tool is available for download on macrovision site which is a 30 days free evaluation copy. Use it and learn it.

We can use the repackager tool for packaging process, Editor tool for customizations, Tuner for creating MST's. This are the basic tools available, U can explore on some other tools also provided by adminstudio.

All the best


Answered 02/07/2007 by: amala
Senior Yellow Belt

gmorgan618, my god, you use REFWI when you don't have to? I found it to be completely counter-intuituve.

To answer the original question, if you're serious about packaging get Wise or AdminStudio. They are both very expensive though. There are lots of mickey-mouse products that half-work but I wouldn't bother with them if you can get the budget.
Answered 02/08/2007 by: turbokitty
6th Degree Black Belt

I use Wininstall LE 2003 ver 8 build 19.5 It's been fine for everything I've ever thrown at it.
I know it's no longer free, but I think it's worth the $49.00
Answered 02/08/2007 by: smason
Orange Belt

U guys hear that Symatec bought Altiris?

More fun on the way, I'm sure!... VBG
Answered 02/08/2007 by: aogilmor
9th Degree Black Belt

ORIGINAL: aogilmor

U guys hear that Symatec bought Altiris?

More fun on the way, I'm sure!... VBG


and jz curious....what on earth Symantec wanna get Altris for???
Answered 02/22/2007 by: dinozilla
Orange Senior Belt

Symantec are lame. Their AV is crap, I know because we have it and I am in the process of getting rid of it. They killed Sygate personal firewall which was the best one out there. The only thing they ever did right was ghost. I don't understand why they've got the money to buy all these companies out. They should die...

Hopefully they'll go backrupt and allow someone else to do better and more liberal software....
Answered 02/22/2007 by: humbletech99
Senior Yellow Belt

Wise or InstallShield
Answered 02/27/2007 by: bobcapilontra
Senior Yellow Belt

I think Installshield is better, and it is coming up in industry
Answered 02/28/2007 by: alwaysharsha
Yellow Belt

Please do not start a Wise vs InstallShield war again!
We finally closed one up for a while ago.
Answered 02/28/2007 by: AngelD
Red Belt

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