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O/S Deployment Thread, Repackaging an awkward application. in Technical; Alright chaps... I've got a problem with an application that won't repackage. The product in question is ArchiCAD 15. The ...
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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Repackaging an awkward application.

    Alright chaps...

    I've got a problem with an application that won't repackage.

    The product in question is ArchiCAD 15. The installer is really odd, in as much as it fires off java to run the installer, unpacks a lot of install files to wherever on the hard drive you ask it to, then runs an installer that looks like a standard installshield one, asks you to enter serial and registration details, installs some stuff including a visual c++ distributable and a visual basic runtime, the deletes the install files.

    We're running an RM CC3 network here and we have tried packaging it as usual with the RM app wizard, which takes an eternity (3 or 4 hours) and sometimes crashes the winINSTALL discover agent at the point of 'converting NAI to MSI', 'building advertising entries' The package it finally creates does not install on anything, build test or not, if you run the MSI manually it quits after about 3 seconds saying it cannot open the MSI there may be a problem, but does not give an error code.

    The application comes with it's own unattended recorded installer but this creates an EXE not an MSI. We've tried converting the EXE to an MSI using a couple of tools but have not succeeded. one installs ocasionally but does not create shortcuts, the other quits with the same general error as before. Neither are reliable enough to be useful.

    We have also tried using the appdeploy repackager which creates an MSI which quits with error 2707. We have opened the msi in orca, edited it and got error 2709. when we run the validation tool it gives 53 a4 sheets of errors!

    The manufacturers are not helpful either, aparently no-one else has ever needed an MSI of their program!

    'Elp.

  2. #2

    bossman's Avatar
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    @Oaktech:

    We used to run a CC3 network and if I remember correctly we used to package up a batchfile along with the exe and .ini file which had all the switches to install, this used to work perfectly.

    I will have a look to see if we still have some examples around on storage.

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    Duke5A's Avatar
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    For MSI creation I use Admin Studio Professional. For a goof ball app like this it sounds like you're best bet is to do a snapshot comparison instead of watching the actions of the installer. This method will take a snapshot of the system before and after the install, compare them, and roll up the differences into your MSI.

    Use a clean machine with no antivirus, and all unneeded services disabled for this. You don't want to include other system related changes in your MSI. And I would make sure the visual c++ distributable pack and visual basic run times are already installed.

    When it's time for deployment, deploy the visual c++ pack and VB run times on your target machine before running your captured MSI.

    Good luck...

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Option two is to just copy the fully installed program folder to another clean machine and see if it runs (if not it may tell you the DLLs it is after. Copy the needed files and if it runs just use the repackager to repack it by runing a before shot on a clean machine, copying the files over manually from an installed machine as before, adding any icons and assosiations manually then running the after snapshot.

    I do this quite often to get around rubbish, messy and flat out faulty installers.

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    jinnantonnixx's Avatar
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    Option 3 is to use Cameyo
    Cameyo | Free Application Virtualization

    Capture the app using Cameyo in 'isolated' mode to keep wayward DLLs in check, then stream it as a virtual app. You might be surprised how well this works.

    Agree with Duke5A, Admin Studio is the tool of choice for MSI creation/packaging/tuning.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYNACK View Post
    Option two is to just copy the fully installed program folder to another clean machine and see if it runs (if not it may tell you the DLLs it is after. Copy the needed files and if it runs just use the repackager to repack it by runing a before shot on a clean machine, copying the files over manually from an installed machine as before, adding any icons and assosiations manually then running the after snapshot.

    I do this quite often to get around rubbish, messy and flat out faulty installers.
    this i've tried and it fails reading registry information, it sticks over 200 entries in the registry!

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke5A View Post
    For MSI creation I use Admin Studio Professional. For a goof ball app like this it sounds like you're best bet is to do a snapshot comparison instead of watching the actions of the installer. This method will take a snapshot of the system before and after the install, compare them, and roll up the differences into your MSI.

    Use a clean machine with no antivirus, and all unneeded services disabled for this. You don't want to include other system related changes in your MSI. And I would make sure the visual c++ distributable pack and visual basic run times are already installed.

    When it's time for deployment, deploy the visual c++ pack and VB run times on your target machine before running your captured MSI.

    Good luck...
    I'm going to try the preinstalled redistributables thing now. the RM winINSTALL app wizard is a snapshot/comparison tool and still that fails, so i'm going to try sorting out it's dependencies first.

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jinnantonnixx View Post
    Option 3 is to use Cameyo
    Cameyo | Free Application Virtualization

    Capture the app using Cameyo in 'isolated' mode to keep wayward DLLs in check, then stream it as a virtual app. You might be surprised how well this works.

    Agree with Duke5A, Admin Studio is the tool of choice for MSI creation/packaging/tuning.
    I love this, but unfortunately it repeatedly crashes when faced with archicad...

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    SYNACK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oaktech View Post
    this i've tried and it fails reading registry information, it sticks over 200 entries in the registry!
    Export from installed machine and import to template machine, should be doable but yea, getting all the visual c etc. packs out of it should help, have had them cause issues in the past.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    You do know that you can deploy exe files with CC3?
    If you know the switches you need to deploy the software the way you want it there is no need to repackage as an msi.

    If you have a support contract read TEC21757 for info on creating the ini file.
    Last edited by sparkeh; 18th October 2011 at 11:16 AM.

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    DEvans's Avatar
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    I have used a hell of a lot of MSI creators/packaging tools and in my opinion the best one out of all these beasts. Is a free, tiny piece of software that is actually quite tricky to find now on the internet called Installer Wrapper Wizard.

    If there is a silent install switch you can use to run the application silently, such as /q, -s, /quiet etc etc. This little tool literally just takes the .exe, puts the silent install switch on it and "wraps" it up in a single, completely basic msi. Containing just the information needed by Server 2003, Server 2008 and R2 to deploy it successfully on the network.

    If you've ever opened up an MSI there is so much stuff in there, but only about 10% of all that is needed to simply deploy it out via GPO. This wrapper uses the exe with the silent switch and thats it. All the msi does is tell the server what to do with it.

    Wininstall LE is so long winded, need clean machines to build it on, so your constantly recovering a VM machine, which in itself took you a small time to actually make.

    I can take a piece of software, look at it, oh its an installshield, fine, do the required switches, wrap it up, quick test on a client. Works. Done, next piece of software. Don't even need to batch script and deploy out via startups. Fully managed this way, so can just right click and uninstall if I ever need to in the future.

    No need to wait for a snapshot to be done, then an aftershot and all that jazz. No need to write scripts that will populate my startup scripts folder.

    Highly recommend it, its no longer supported, I don't even think it was truely released, but it works and works well. Just need to know the basics.

    I've taught this application to other techies in like 10 minutes, its so basic which is probably why it never fails. Since I can say i've wrapped well over 400 applications and never seen it fail, that will do me just fine in comparison to any of these "super msi studio 5000" applications lol.

    I'm writing up a guide on this and will be publishing it out at some point, just finding some example applications to demonstrate it on as no two pieces of software are the same.

    Windows Installer Wrapper Wizard it was called.

    I'll update this post if I find a copy of it, also i'll post a link to the guide whenever I get round to doing it.
    Last edited by DEvans; 5th December 2011 at 04:43 PM.

  12. 2 Thanks to DEvans:

    Duke5A (5th December 2011), Oaktech (5th December 2011)

  13. #12

    plexer's Avatar
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    Indeed I couldn't find it last time I looked but Windows Installer Wrapper Wizard | AdminPost.com has a d/l that works.

    Ben

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    http://n.ethz.ch/student/heim/msi/WIWW_0-0-0-1.zip

    seems to work for download... not working for real yet, 30 second dabble yields an msi that quits with "parameter is incorrect" but i will persist!

  15. #14

    plexer's Avatar
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    The link I posted has ver 0.20 avialable, not saying it'll make any difference mind you.

    Ben

  16. Thanks to plexer from:

    Oaktech (5th December 2011)

  17. #15

    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    something like this :

    RegFromApp - Generate RegEdit .reg file from Registry changes made by application

    or regshot ??

    For the registry side

  18. Thanks to mac_shinobi from:

    Oaktech (5th December 2011)

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