One area in which I dug in deep for a few years of consulting is that of software repackaging—that is, taking the author’s software setup files and making a “package” out of them which includes all the desired configurations, for the purpose of easy distribution onto dozens, hundreds, or thousands of PCs across a corporate network. In particular, I focused on creating Windows Installer “MSI” packages which are flexible, durable, and manageable—exactly what a good sysadmin wants to see in a software package.
Here I have collected some of the best practices, tutorials, and links that will be useful to both novices and experts in this area. Please note that these articles are by now several years old and have not been updated with the latest techniques, software versions, or reference links. Kindly excuse any unintentional misdirections, and let me know if you have any suggestions or corrections to add!
Tips & Tricks
- Best Practices
- Custom Actions
- Merge Modules
- Wise Package Studio
- Understanding COM Component Registration
- Using Self-Healing to your Advantage
Upgrades & Patches
- Before You Create Your Upgrade, part 1
- Before You Create Your Upgrade, part 2
- Creating a Patch MSP with Wise Package Studio
- Creating a Minor Update MSI Manually
- Creating a Typical Upgrade MSI with the WPS UpgradeSync Tool
- Creating an Uninstall-First Upgrade MSI
Security & Permissions
- Locked-down Image Philosophy
- Discovering Permission Requirements: Tools
- Discovering Permission Requirements: Technique
- Applying Permissions with the Wise GUI
- Applying Permissions with MSI’s LockPermissions Table
- Applying Permissions with MSI’s Custom Actions
I have collected, classified, and commented on dozens of web links related to repacking and Windows Installer in the Web Links section.
Sample scripts, Registry settings, and more can be found in the Downloads section of the site.