View Full Version : Packaging Microsoft Applications

08-07-2002, 10:38 AM
I've got to admit, I'm obviously missing something quite fundamental here. Simple apps like WinZip and Acrobat Reader seem to pose relatively few problems. However, I have been [trying to] package Microsoft applications on Windown NT Terminal Server (SP6) and have found nothing but errors.

I was under the impression that 'super' packages such as InstallShield would have at least been tested with common applications such as Microsoft Outlook 98 and Microsoft Office 97/2000 (to name but a few) - but evidently not. Is no-one else out there in a similar situation?

This difficult section should be the original installation on the Terminal Server - NOT the repackaging/import/build of a verified installation afterwards. I appreciate that the imports of the .inc and the building of the .msi will not always be perfect - modifications may always need to be done - but not to the extent my colleagues and I have experienced.

Missing files, completely messed up registry entries, incorrect paths - and the now infamous [*** Error: An unknown error occurred] have made my experience with this deeply mediocre tool nothing but frustrating. And to have to switch between 3.01 and 3.5 beta just to complete different applications? Madness...

Once again, many thanks go out to all the InstallShield engineers for doing such an outstanding job. You must be very proud.


08-07-2002, 12:38 PM
Most of Microsoft's application comes with native MSI files that only require transforms to be generated from. Office suite has it's own transform generator included in the Office Resource Kit.

08-08-2002, 01:56 PM
Thanks nicholas_ong,

I appreciate that some Microsoft applications might be available as distinct, pre-built .msi's (the 2000 suite, for example) - but I'm guessing this isn't the case for the 97/98 apps. I have tried searching microsoft.com for complete lists of what is, and isn't available as an .msi with little luck. Success on a microsoft site, is after all, rather erratic (at best).

I have also used the 'Custom Installation Wizard' in the ORK to which you refer, but it by no means a comprehensive solution and the transform files are still going to need a lot of manipulation in the Tuner. Sigh... I guess...

1) Obtain the pre-built .msi's (where possible)
2) Use the ORK to create a standard .mst
3) Use Tuner to modify the transform
4) Install clean build WTS NT4 and snap it
5) Install the .msi with the transform
6) Repackage the WTS NT4
7) Import the .inc into Author
8) Build the new .msi
9) Re-image the WTS NT4 and test the new .msi

Sadly, steps 6,7 and 8 will still be the achilles heal as they rely on InstallShield and will probably produce all the same errors we experienced when we started from scratch.

You know your career is at an end when you start being assigned tasks using this product... oh yes...