How to Choose a Repackaging Method

MSI Package Builder is shipped with the different repackaging methods to be used for different situations. It is possible to use the Repackage Installation wizard to create an MSI package automatically with the help of the smart repackaging, or use the low-level repackaging to benefit from advanced repackaging features. As for smart repackaging, you can choose between installations monitoring, monitoring of changes made to the operating system and wrapping of existing installations into an MSI package. The low-level repackaging allows you to combine different repackaging techniques and to control each aspect of the repackaging process.

When you use the Repackage Installation wizard, you can select the monitoring or wrapping methods of installation repackaging Pic 1. Note that this step of the wizard is available in the Enterprise and Architect editions of the program, which include the installations wrapping option. The Professional edition of the program offers monitoring only, so the repackaging method selection is not available in this edition.

Selecting the repackaging method

Pic 1. Selecting the repackaging method

Installations Monitoring

Repackaging through monitoring of file system and registry changes is the easiest repackaging method, but it has a set of limitations. Using this method, the deployment package is created based on changes performed to the operating system by existing installations. You should choose this method when the repackaged installations do not support silent execution or you cannot find out the parameters to be used for silent execution. Use installations monitoring for creating App-V packages and MSIX/AppX packages as installations wrapping is not applicable for virtualization. This method can also be used when you are going to create an MSI package based on generic changes performed manually rather than those performed by existing installations.

The main prerequisite for repackaging via system changes capturing is that the monitoring should be performed in a clean environment. The main disadvantage of this mode is that the resulting deployment will not be fully cross-platform, thus the repackaging results will be valid only for the same operating system as used for monitoring.

The program supports two types of changes capturing. In the Repackage Installation wizard, you can select the option to capture installations or to capture system changes Pic 2 depending on your needs.

Selecting the capturing type

Pic 2. Selecting the capturing type

Capture Installations

This option is designed to repackage an existing installation into a package of a different format. The program captures changes performed by the repackaged installation and uses those captured changes to generate a new package. You should use installations capturing if you need to repackage an existing installation with no additional pre/post-installation customization steps.

Capture System Changes

This option is designed to capture any file system and registry changes and use the captured results to generate a package. You can use this option to repackage installations that need additional pre/post-installation customization steps or to convert any changes into a package. For example, this mode allows you to make the required changes manually and generate a package reproducing those changes.

You can also use system changes capturing to repackage an installation that isn’t designed to exit on installation completion. In such a case, you are responsible for stopping the monitoring process when all the required changes have been performed.

You can learn more about this type of monitoring in the Capture System Changes chapter.

Installations Wrapping

The wrapping method of installations repackaging is recommended for experienced users for creating MSI packages. When wrapping is used, the program creates an MSI package that includes the repackaged installation file. You can use wrapping if the repackaged installation supports silent deployment and you know the command-line parameters required to deploy the installation silently.

Using wrapping is a little more complicated, but it allows you to avoid all the limitations of the monitoring technology. Installations wrapped into an MSI package will be distributed in the original state and thus deployed correctly to any operating system regardless the deployment process particularities. You can learn more about wrapping by reading the Repackaging via Wrapping chapter.

Low-Level Repackaging

The low-level repackaging options allow you to reach the maximum flexibility in repackaging, but should be used by experienced users only. In this mode, you can change the monitored data and provide the required changes manually. This mode is the most complex one, because you are responsible for preparing the correct changes configuration for creating a deployment package. The complexity of the generic repackaging process requires that you to fully understand each aspect of every step to be performed for successful repackaging. You can learn more about this approach in the Low-Level Repackaging chapter.

Now you have been introduced to the repackaging modes included into MSI Package Builder and should be able to choose an appropriate one during your everyday work.