Low-Level Repackaging

Typically, installation repackaging uses the Repackage Installation wizard, which automates and guides you through the process. While recommended for most cases, in some situations, you may bypass automation for greater control. Low-level repackaging offers the flexibility to combine techniques, not limiting you to a single approach. For instance, you can monitor installations, make additional changes during MSI package deployment, or adjust monitoring results as needed.

The low-level repackaging concept should be used by experienced users only. While using a low-level repackaging you are responsible for performing each and every step required for the successful repackaging, so it is required that you fully understand those steps.

What exactly is low-level repackaging? It involves manual operations for repackaging and project preparation. This chapter details these operations, enhancing your understanding of repackaging and using manual operations when necessary. Low-level repackaging involves the following steps:

Step 1: Start Monitoring
Repackage an installation by capturing its changes, as outlined in the How Installation Repackaging Works chapter. To exclusively capture installation changes, bypassing automatic project preparation and package generation, use the Start Monitoring button on the Ribbon.

Start Monitoring

Start Monitoring

The Start Monitoring button from the Capture group on the Home Ribbon page should be used to start a new session for tracking changes performed to the system.

To start a new monitoring session to capture the changes performed to the underlying operating system, you can press the Start Monitoring button from the Capture group on the Home Ribbon page or choose the Start Monitoring item from the Projects tree pop-up menu. The wizard will appear on the screen, where you can provide a name for the project to be created on a basis of the changes monitored and choose additional processes to be filtered during the monitoring process. The monitoring modules will ignore the activity of the filtered processes, thus the changes performed by those processes will not be included into the resulting set.

Step 2: Apply Changes
Once monitoring starts, execute the changes you wish to track, such as running the applications you want to monitor or manually making modifications. The program captures all these changes.

Step 3: Stop Monitoring
To end the capture process, either press the Stop Monitoring button in the Capture group on the Home Ribbon page or select Stop Monitoring from the Projects tree pop-up menu.

Stop Monitoring

Stop Monitoring

The Stop Monitoring button from the Capture group on the Home Ribbon page should be used to stop the currently running monitoring session.

When you stop the monitoring process, a project with the specified name is created. It includes all changes made to the operating system during the monitoring period. To create a deployment package from these changes, you must first prepare the project.

Step 4: Prepare the Project
To prepare the project for package generation the captured resources, such as file changes, should be copied into the project storage. This ensures package generation can occur anytime, even if the original files change on the file system. During this process, you might encounter missing captured files. In such cases, decide how to handle these missing links. Additionally, converting absolute resource paths to system folders is advisable to ensure the generated package's compatibility with various operating system configurations.

Project preparation, resolving missing links, and converting to system folders are detailed in the Projects Preparation chapter. Follow these instructions for guidance. These steps are automated in the Repackage Installation wizard, though some steps, like converting to system folders, are optional - you may choose to use absolute file paths instead if needed. With low-level repackaging, you have the flexibility to decide which actions to perform and which to omit.

Step 5: Edit Project Content
This optional step allows you to review and modify the project contents. Select the desired section in the Projects tree to examine it. If necessary, add custom changes manually using the editors, as outlined in the Installation Projects chapter. The program also enables copying content from one installation project to another; simply open multiple projects, copy the required data, and paste it into your target project.

Step 6. Generate a Package
As soon as all required changes are provided you can proceed with a deployment package creation. Depending on the edition of the program you have, you can generate an MSI, App-V or MSIX package. To learn more about the options available while creating deployment packages, see the Creating an MSI Package, the Creating an App-V Package and the Creating an MSIX/AppX Package chapters.

These are the primary steps in repackaging. However, you can undertake additional actions as needed, such as adding pre- and post-install custom actions to your packages. Low-level repackaging enables the creation of packages with varying levels of complexity.