If you want to deploy an application that doesn't have a native Windows Installer package, you might want to repackage the application. Although repackaging applications is a notoriously error-prone procedure that can easily corrupt an otherwise stable system, it can be useful if done carefully and tested thoroughly. Repackaging applications provides many of the benefits of Windows Installer, discussed in the section entitled Choosing an Installation Package Format earlier in this chapter.
This section describes how to repackage applications using Veritas Software's WinInstall LE software package, which is included with Windows 2000 Server.
Many administrators choose to publish applications using a .ZAP file before repackaging applications because of the simplicity and reliability.
Best Practices for Installation
You can take a number of precautions to minimize problems with the installation package you are creating:
- Always run WinInstall LE on Windows 2000, not Windows XP. Packages created with WinInstall LE on a Windows 2000 system work fine on a Windows XP system, but packages created on a Windows XP system will almost certainly break. If you need to create packages on a Windows XP machine, use the full version of WinInstall or another software package, or use a .ZAP file instead.
- Always create installation packages on a clean computer—that is, on a computer with no software on it except the operating system and operating system service packs. (The computer on which you create an installation package is known as the reference computer.)
- If possible, create packages on a computer with the same hardware and operating system as the clients to which you will deploy the applications.
- Don't install the Veritas Software Console on the reference computer. By definition, this makes the system "unclean."
- Don't map any drives on the reference computer.
- Roll the computer back to a clean state after every installation by uninstalling all programs. Even better, use Remote Installation Services to perform an automated reinstall of Windows.
- Don't install any antivirus programs, or programs such as CleanSweep, that might write data during the repackaging.
- Close all other programs, and disable any screen saver or other memory-resident programs.
- Don't delete files or drag files to the Recycle Bin during the repackaging process.
Creating the "Before" Snapshot and Installing the Application
The first step in repackaging an application is to take a snapshot of the system state before you install the program. To do this, follow these steps:
- Install WinInstall LE on a computer other than the reference computer by double-clicking the Swiadmle.msi file in the \Valueadd\3rdparty \Mgmt\Winstle folder of a Windows 2000 Server CD-ROM.
- On the clean reference computer, connect to the server hosting WinInstall LE and launch the Discover (Discoz.exe) program in the \Veritas Software\Winstall folder, which is placed by default in the %SystemRoot%\Program Files folder.
- Click Next in the first screen of the WinInstall Discover Wizard.
- In the first box of the next screen, enter a useful, descriptive name for the application you are installing, as shown in Figure 25-15. Note that this is the name that is published in Active Directory for users to see.
Figure 25-15. Specifying the application name and path.
- In the second box, enter the path and filename where you want to store the package.
- Click the button next to the third box if you want to change the language that Windows Installer uses for messages to the user, and then click Next.
- In the next screen, select the drive you want WinInstall to use for temporary files, and then click Next. Note that this drive should have at least 250 MB of free space available and should be a local drive for optimal Discover process speed.
- For each drive that you expect the program to make changes on, select the drive and click Add to add it to the list of drives that Discover monitors for changes. Click Next when you're done. Because it takes added time to scan each drive, don't add drives that you know will not be modified.
- In the next screen, shown in Figure 25-16, specify any folders that you want to exclude from scanning by selecting them and clicking Add. To exclude specific files or a range of files from the scanning process, click Files & Wildcard Entries.
Figure 25-16. Specifying folders and files to exclude from the scan.
- Select the Enhanced Registry Scan check box to be sure that the scanning process picks up all changed registry keys.
For the most reliable packaging results, don't alter the exclusions and always select the Enhanced Registry Scan check box.
- Click Next when you're finished to start the actual Discover process. WinInstall scans the system in preparation for the program installation.
- When the Discover process is finished, you see a dialog box asking if you want to run the setup program now. Click OK, locate the setup program, and click Open.
- Install the program exactly as you want users to install it. When you're finished, restart the computer.
- Make any modifications you want to the program, and then continue with the next section to finish repackaging the application.
Creating the "After" Snapshot
After you've created the initial system snapshot and installed the program, you're ready to create the "after" snapshot, which completes the repackaging process. To do so, follow these steps:
- Delete any shortcuts the application created in the Startup folder on the Start menu, as well as any Uninstall shortcuts for the application (all client uninstalling should be performed using Add/Remove Programs).
- Connect to the server hosting WinInstall LE, and launch the Discover (Discoz.exe) program again. You see the screen shown in Figure 25-17.
Figure 25-17. Creating the "after" snapshot.
- To create the "after" snapshot, select the Perform The `After' Snapshot Now option and click Next. Discover then compares the system to the "before" snapshot and creates the Windows Installer package.
To abort the repackaging process, select the Abandon The `Before' Snapshot And Start Over option. This step allows you to start over and create a new "before" snapshot.
- In the dialog box that shows the results of the repackaging process, click OK, and then click OK in the next dialog box to finish repackaging the application.