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Packaging Tricks: Setting Up A Packaging Machine

Created: 19 Mar 2009 | 4 comments
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AdrianC's picture
+15 15 Votes
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I understand there are a few guides for this already, but this is my method for setting up a packaging machine and it works very well for me.

As a note, I prefer to push out MSI's and setup programs with custom switches, but often I run into a program that is a pain to do this with. Then on comes the Virtual Packaging Machine.

-----------------------------Full Instructions for setting up a packaging machine----------------------------

- Create a VM machine with a fresh install of XP (Presuming you are not packaging for Vista)

- As I use VirtualBox (Free VM) I also Install Guest Additions. Guest additions can be found in the menu (Devices > Install Guest Additions). It will then appear as a cd drive and will probably autorun (unless already disabled). Install these drivers. This will allow you seamless use of mouse across your virtual and host machine without a "Cop-Out" button (In VirtualBox it's "Right Ctrl").

- Install all the latest windows updates available (I usually install all except for Windows Search as it'll leave traces of things behind)

- Modifications to services/settings etc. Disable non-essential services or set to manual and stop them. Below are the ones I disable. There are more (or less) dependant on how you choose or what your needs require.
    - Alerter
    - Clipbook
    - Error Reporting Service
    - Fast User Switching Compatibility
    - Help & Support
    - Human Interface Device Access
    - Indexing Service
    - Java Quick Starter            -    If Java is installed
    - Machine Debug Manager
    - Net.TCP Port Sharing Service
    - NetMeeting Remote Desktop Sharing
    - Network DDE
    - Network DDE DSDM
    - Remote Desktop Help Session Manager
    - Remote Registry
    - Routing & Remote Access
    - Security Center
    - System Restore Sevice
    - Telnet
    - Windows Cardspace
    - Wireless Zero Configuration        -    Unless you specifically need it enabled

There are others you can disable but it's personal choice. To name a few (which are probably already set to manual)
    - Distributed Transaction Coordinator
    - Ext. Auth. Protocol Service
    - IMAPI CD-Burning COM Service
    - Logical Disk Manager Admin Service
    - Network Access Protection Manager
    - MS Shadow Copy Provider
    - Performance Logs & Alerts
    - Portable Media Serial Number Service
    - Print Spooler
    - Smart Card
    - Themes
    - UPS
    - Volume Shadow Copy
    - Windows Media Player Network Service Sharing Service

If you are unsure of what a service is, Google is your friend.. Ask him/her/it.

- Right click the "My Computer" Icon and click "Manage"
    - In "Computer Management\Users" Set Administrator password if not already set.
    - In "Computer Management\Groups", Enter "Administrators Properties" & add any AD groups you have related to package pushing eg. "Domain Admins" should it be on the domain (I register it to the domain as I have to package network software that needs domain auth to get to it's network location).

The below options are set so as little cached files and what not are left around the place. Please comment if you know any more.

- Disable Offline Files
    1. Open "My Computer"
    2. Click "Tools"
    3. Click "Folder Options"
    4. Select the "Offline Files" tab.
    5. Untick "Enable Offline Files"

- Disable Thumbnails
    1. Open "My Computer"
    2. Click "Tools"
    3. Click "Folder Options"
    4. Select the "View" tab.
    5. Tick the "Do not cache thumbnails" box.
        Note: While you are in there you might as well minimize what other settings can leave traces by changing the following;
        1. Untick the "Restore previous folder windows at logon"
        2. Untick the "Remember each folder's view settings"

- Turn of prefetch
    1. Run "regedit";
    2. Go to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters\EnablePrefetcher];
    3. Set the value to 0 (0 = Disable, 1 = App launch prefetch, 2 = Boot Prefetch, 3 = Both).
    4. Reboot.

- Disable WBEM Logging
    1. Start the registry editor by clicking "Start" -> "Run..." & type "regedit".
    2. Navigate to "HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\WBEM\CIMOM". In the right window find the string called "EnableEvents", double-click on it & change its value to 0.
    3. Now, do the same for the string "Logging". Change the value to 0, click "OK" & close the registry editor.
    4. Finally, you can delete all log files in the folder mentioned below.
        Note: Windows XP permanently logs some special events in the folder "\system32\wbem\Logs". If you have never seen these log files & don't want to use them in the future, you can disable the logging feature.

- Disable Timestamping in registry
    1. Run "regedit";
    2. Go to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem]
    3. Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value, named "NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate" & set it to "1" to prevent the LastAccess time stamp from being updated. (0 = disable, 1 = enable)
    4. Restart Windows for the change to take effect.

- Install 7zip (Very useful archiving program with a tiny footprint)
    After installation do the following;
    1. Click    Start > Programs > 7-Zip > 7-Zip File Manager
    2. Click    Tools > Options
    3. On the "System" tab Click the "Select All" button to associate all archive formats to 7-zip.
    4. Click "Apply" &/or "Ok"
    5. Close 7-Zip

- Create a new folder on your host machine & setup a share. (eg. \\HOSTPC\RIP$) & setup sufficient access.
- Map Network/Host drives (\\hostpc\RIP$ - T:) & package server (\\PKGSRV\packages$ - P:). Set persistent (Use appropriate account)

- Install RInstall to "c:\RInstall"

- Create shortcuts to "RapidInstall.exe", "Conflict.exe", "RIPtoMSI.exe", & the c:\RInstall folder itself & put them at "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Desktop" for ease of access.

- Setup Exceptions (See list at the bottom of this page)

- *See Final Setup*

- Install WISE to "C:\WISE"

- Enter the directory & create 2 shortcuts to "WfWI.exe"
    - Modify one of the shortcuts & add /r to the target box, to show "C:\Wise\wfwi.exe /r" . This will be your Wise Setup Capture shortcut

- Setup Exceptions (See list at the bottom of this page)

-------------------------------------------------------FINAL SETUP------------------------------------------------------
- Create a Baseline for RInstall
    Note: This should be done last after any installations of any software, & just before you create you main VM Snapshot.

- Take a snapshot to revert back to after you have created packages, ready for the next to be made using the same baseline.



HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\Notify\WgaLogon\Settings
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\International

Some handy links:  -  A community of packagers. Quite often you can find setup switches to push out and tweak settings without using a "Capture" method.  -  This page has a good list of exceptions and also list a good method. Capture a snapshot, reboot the machine, and then capture another. These (pretty much) can all be excepted from capture.  -  This page has a list of switches that you can use for installers to make them silent etc. Not definitive but handy none-the-less.

Attached is this instructional in .txt format

Please comment with anything you might think is useful, any other registry changes that would benefit this etc.

Comments 4 CommentsJump to latest comment

Eshwar's picture

Great job AdrianC.

This article has everything that a pckager wanted to know.I would recommend to disable the Windows Firewall if it is turned on. Most of the time i get TCP/IP registry entries when i capture in a clean machines. I would also recommend to add them to the exclusion list.

We always use clean Virtual machines for packaging and SOE build Virtual machines for testing.  

Once again thank you for taking time and writing such a wondraful article.





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AngelD's picture

Having it disabled prevents more junk if example the exclusion list doesn't contain these registry entries.

I like to have it enabled and prompt when an application wants to talk outside as that will give you an indication of possible required firewall policy configuration(s) for that application.

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maggieliu's picture

Hello friends,

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Thanks & best regards,

Ms.Maggie Liu

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WiseUser's picture

Nice Post

Altiris Certified Professional

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