Overview of Repackaging Best Practices

The installation repackaging process is based on monitoring file system and registry changes performed by the monitored installation. Depending on the computer state before and during the repackaging process, you may obtain either correct or incorrect repackaging results. It is recommended that a special environment be used and the repackaging best practices explained below be followed to achieve correct repackaging results.

Recommended Repackaging Environment

When repackaging installations, you should always keep in mind that it is strongly advised:

  • Use a clean environment. To avoid capturing unwanted changes produced by other software running on a PC, it is recommended that repackaging be performed on a clean environment where only the OS and EMCO MSI Package Builder are installed. For your convenience, you may create a virtual machine (VM) for repackaging, and having installed the OS and EMCO MSI Package Builder, create a snapshot with a clean VM configuration. Every time you need to perform repackaging, you should revert the VM to this snapshot in order to use a clean repackaging environment.
  • Repackage and deploy on the same platform. When you deploy the same installation on different platforms (x86 and x64), it can create different resources, so you should repackage the installation on the same platform and, preferably, under the same OS that will be used for deployment of the package to be generated. If you need to deploy an installation on both the x86 and x64 platforms, you should create two separate packages for these platforms.
  • Disable anti-viruses, firewalls and Windows updates. The system software working in the background may generate changes that will appear in the created package. To avoid that, it is recommended that Windows updates be disabled. Anti-viruses, firewalls and other security software may also produce unwanted changes and might cause an unstable or incorrect monitoring operation, so they should be disabled as well.
  • Prevent an auto-start of the repackaged application after its installation. When you perform repackaging in the Automated Monitoring mode, EMCO MSI Package Builder automatically starts monitoring before running the repackaged installation and stops monitoring when the installation is finished. Some installations prompt you to run the installed application as the final step of the deployment, which prevents EMCO MSI Package Builder from detecting the end of the installation and stopping the monitoring process at the right place automatically. You have to skip running the installed application in the course of the installation process. If the application starts automatically after the installation, just close it to notify EMCO MSI Package Builder of the end of the installation process.
  • Skip reboots. If the monitored installation requires a reboot, you should stop monitoring and generate a deployment package before rebooting.

Using a clean environment for repackaging is very important to get correct deployment packages, so it is strongly recommended that this rule be followed. If for some reason you cannot use a clean environment, there are some additional rules you should follow, but in this case, the monitoring results may not be as precise as those produced in a clean environment may.

  • Close all running applications and processes. You should close all running applications and processes, except EMCO MSI Package Builder, before you start repackaging since they are not related to the repackaged installation but may cause changes that will appear in the repackaging results.
  • Uninstall the monitored application. If an installation you need to repackage is already installed, uninstall it with all its components and dependencies.

Usually, repackaging problems are caused by non-compliance with one or more of the best practice recommendations, so if you get a deployment package that does not work properly, make sure you use a clean environment for repackaging and follow other best practices.