In this third article I'm going to guide you through the Windows Installer Editor. In the previous article we created a Package with Wise Package Studio. Now when we deploy the package it will show some screens. These screens and a lot more can be customized for your own, or for the company you work for. This can be done with the Windows installer editor.
Quote: "Windows Installer Editor is an installation development system for creating and editing Windows Installer packages. It is a complete and user-friendly front end for generating Windows Installer database files, which are executed by the Windows Installer engine. With Windows Installer Editor, you can create installations that are compliant with Microsoft's Windows 2000 logo program."
"Use Windows Installer Editor to edit and refine installations that you've converted from legacy installations, or that you've recreated with Setup Capture or Application Watch."
After you start Wise Package studio, go to the tab Tools. There you see the option Windows Installer editor.
Double click on the Windows Installer Editor to start it.
Now maximize it to see all the options.
In the left you will see all the options, where in the right you can see the information and what it is.
Below in the lowest line you see that we are in the Installation Expert mode. The other options will be explained later.
The first is the project summary. It shows you how many resources, files and registry key's the package contains.
The second option is Product details:
The grayed out lines cannot be changed, but all the dark lines can be edited for your convenience.
The third option is the General Information.
Here you can fill in the information that users see when they right click on the setup file. By adding the author everyone can see who built the package. This can be very helpful when somebody has questions or when something is wrong in the package.
The fourth option is Add remove programs.
In this page you can fill in all the information that will be shown when a user goes to add/remove programs. Because I use SVS for all my packages in my environment I do not want this package to show up. If you want it to show up, you can add lots of information here. You can give a specific URL that users need for updates. This will make the program look at your webpage for updates. After editing this, you will be in charge when you want to update or not. This will help you preventing users from updating when the updates are not tested yet.
With an alternative phone number like the one your helpdesk uses you can make sure users call your helpdesk when there are problems.
If the users need help, you can also use an alternative path for the web version of the help file. This will guide users to your web pages where you publish your specific help.
The next option is the path Variables.
Here you can alter several paths for your program. When you have built your own themes, you can change the path to use for the installer here as well.
The next option is the Resources.
I usually do not change or add anything here.
In the features you can manually add a new installation feature. The standard ones usually are OK. Only when you have developed your own program and use the Windows Installer editor to build your own installation program you can add additional features here so the user who installs it has more options.
The options for the Feature details are already done during the creation of the MSI. Everything here is explained in the previous article.
These can be used if you still need to change anything, but they speak for themselves.
Let's go to the target system. Click on System Requirements.
In this screen you can add perquisites for the program. So if the program needs Dot Net framework, you can here say that it checks for the Dot Net framework. If the computer where you install the software on does not comply, then you can prevent the installation.
The current options are:
- Windows version: Here you can define the lowest Windows version it needs to function.
- Windows NT version: Same as above, but now for the server versions.
- Screen resolution: Here you can set the lowest screen resolution a PC needs for the software to work.
- Screen colors: It makes no sense to install a graphical program when the computer only has 16 colors. Here you set the lowest color settings needed.
- Internet version: Here you set the lowest internet version needed if applicable.
- Windows Installer Runtime: this is a very important one. If the program is designed in Visual Studio, then you need at least version 2.
- SQL Version: If the software needs SQL you can set the lowest version here that it needs to work with.
- . Net Framework: here you set the lowest needed version. I usually set this to at least version 2.0
- IIS Version: If the application needs IIS, here you can set the lowest version needed to work.
The next screen is the screen for the search locations. Here you are able to add search locations for specific registry key's, INI files or paths. This screen is only needed when you build your very own program. Usually we do not set this if we have repackaged a program. Now we go to the Windows installer options.
In this screen we can define if we want the computer to reboot after our program is installed. Also you are able to define if the application writes to the protected file system.
In the log files part you are able to tell how you like the settings to be logged during the installation.
Now we go to the Package Options.
All options here are only valid if we use the administrator's installation. I do not change anything in here because I use the package with the Altiris Deployment Solution or with SVS. Usually this is only for use with own created software or for terminal server installations.
In this screen we can tell if the application needs a reboot to function.
The second screen is the search locations were we could add additional search paths.
The third is the same as the Windows Installer Options above, but then for the administrators install.
Now we reach the option that can change the most.
This is something that enables you to change about anything in the looks and feel of the customized installation.
Here you are also able to add company logos.
In the screen above you see the various screens that are enabled during the packaging we did in the second article.
You can mark screens as active when you want to use them.
Compare the screen above with the previous screen. This is only been done by changing the default theme to platinum.
When you click on the Dialog editor, you can totally change the custom installation as you like by adding your own logos, changing the looks or even add lines or questions.
Click on Dialog editor. Now you get a message that you are leaving the Windows Installer Editor and that the Windows Dialog Editor will open. You can always change back to the Windows Installer Editor if you like.
As you can see you now have a Dialog box and a Controls box. Here you can change, remove or add about anything you like in the looks of the customized installer.
You can go back to the Windows Installer Editor by selecting Installation Expert in the lower left.
Our next option is to select the option Installation Types.
Here you can select what option of the application should be always installed and what options a user may select or not.
When we go to the Release definitions, we can create more releases if we like. This option is almost only used when you build your own applications. In this tab the most important one is the Build Options. In the previous exercise we built a customized MSI to install an application with all the options we like.
When you want the customized application to be built as an Executable here you can select the option Single file EXE With the MSI inside. When this option is selected the output will be an executable that contains the MSI. Now the program is a real executable that can be used for the installation.
In the languages page you can add more languages for the installation. The translation is inside Wise, so there is no need to translate the installation yourself. Be careful using this if you have entered your own texts in the Windows dialog editor. Check always if the translation is done correctly.
Only when you want to build an executable do you have to enter perquisites to be checked before the installation.
The other options are mostly explained in the previous article or are only valid for building your own developed software. They will not be used in our exercise.
When you click on the MSI script button on the lower line you will see the whole installation as a script.
This will help you build in specific options. Here you can define lots of options very easily and very simply.
I hope this article helps you further in the process of building your own customized installations.
The next article will handle the Virtual Package editor. This will help you build the MSI into a VSA to use with SVS. Here I will show you some very powerful tools.
After that I will explain a specific program where I builded a VSA that contains a MSI to install a very specific driver when the VSA was imported. When the VSA is deleted it will uninstall the MSI.