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Smart Packager Pro

If you are looking for a MSI Installer Application Packaging / MSI packaging / App-V packaging you are in good hands. Smart Packager is the most popular and comprehensive software packaging solution on the market.  It has a complete set of features to create MSI Installer files from existing software installations and to modify existing Windows Installer packages. When you think of MSI Packaging you might think of complexity. Unlike any other MSI package builder, Smart Packager Pro (Ver 3.0.4) is ideal for IT administrators but powerful enough for developers.

Please contact us to download the freeware edition (ebh@cerus.net)

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All in One / The best easy-to-use product of the market

  • Dependable MSI and App-V
  • Application Virtualization Packaging
  • Accelerated Windows 7 and 8 Migrations

Smart Packager Data Sheet

Smart Packager version 3.0

How to use Smart Packager with examples

ReadeMe (prerequisites and best practices)

Smart Packager User Guide

 

Top 10 Reasons People Choose Smart Packager Pro.

  • Intuitive User Interface that’s a Delight to Use

  • Workflow Manager Enforces Best Practices

  • Smart Repackaging for MSI Based Installs

  • Spend Less Time Repackaging MSIs

  • Direct Sequencing of App-V Packages

  • Generate ISO-19770-2 Tags using Package Editor

  • Works with Leading Software Deployment Tools

  • Repackage on Any Machine

  • Windows Explorer Style Package Editor

  • RegEdit Style Registry Editor

     

     

Key Benefits.

  • Easily create, enhance and test MSI and virtualization packages in minutes.

  • A complete end-to-end solution for both physical and virtual environments no costly added-on’s required.

  • Accelerates migration to Windows 7 and 8.

  • “Event Based Discovery” approach lets you rapidly convert multiple EXE, scripts and files into an MSI package.

  • Automatically initiates simultaneous MSI package creation for your virtual environments.

  • Optimizes license inventory and tracking through ISO compliant tagging.

  • Enforces best practices and workflow management.

  • Intuitive visual editor for easy package editing.

  • Supports leading software deployment systems.

     

 

New features version.

The latest version is 3.0.4

  • Fixed a bug related to Windows 7 and Windows Knowledge Base Patches causing issues.
  • Starting with version 3.0 our product is signed using a SHA2 digital certificate. However, Windows 7 without updates applied does not work with SHA2 causing Smart Packager Discovery to fail.  Later versions add a more overt error message so the user clearly understands the problem and how to resolve it.
  • Renaming a folder may result in a crash.
  • Discovering an application may create folders with variable names (e.g. "%CSIDL_ALTSTARTUP%").
  • Adding a driver from the package editor does not always add the required driver binaries files.
  • When upgrading from the evaluation version to the full product, it recognizes and upgrades old as well as new evaluation packages.
  • Other minor bug fixes

Support for Microsoft App-V 5.x: Smart Packager now supports App-V 5.x with the functionality to discover and create a App-V application.  Convert a MSI or Citrix CAS to an App-V application.  Edit and modify existing App-V applications.

New system-check page in Discovery: the Discovery wizard has a new system-check page that scans the computer for common conditions that typically result in bad packages.  Things like other running programs, anti-virus software, pending reboot operations, etc.  From this dialog the user can easily right-click on an issue to resolve it, or if they so choose ignore them and continue with the repackaging.

The two Discovery programs were merged into a single program: previously there were two versions of Discovery, the wizard-driven GUI and the scriptable command-line version.  These have been merged into a single program.  The new Discovery can be run as either a wizard-driven GUI or a scriptable command-line version.

The Workflow tab has been removed: the workflow tab in Smart Packager has been removed.  Whereas this tab was good "eye-candy" it offered no real substance.  It was to the point that once users realized how little it offers it's an embarrassment to the product.  The workflow tab will return in a future version of the product, once we have more real steps to warrant a workflow UI (e.g. conversion between formats and integration with SCCM and others).

Better Assembly detection during repackaging: the assembly detection and processing has been greatly improved.  Also added is the ability to repackage .NET assemblies, something we couldn't handle before.

Legacy code is gone: all of the legacy code has been removed from Smart Packager making the Discovery more reliable.

Reduced the "package contains both per-user and per-machine components" warning: by far the most asked question from customers is about the warning message saying the new package contains both per-user and per-machine components, which is something not technically supported by MSI.  Whereas we can't solve this Microsoft limitation, we have restructured how we handle things to greatly reduce this warning.

Package language translation options: when repackaging an application, Discovery now offers a language option which allows the user to set the language for the output package (any of the 37 languages supported by Microsoft).  Changing this option will create a package with dialogs and strings in that other language.  The translations for these are provided by Microsoft.  Smart Packager itself is only translated to English, but you can now generate packages of different languages.

Easier access to Discovery options: accessing options in Discovery was previously hidden behind a right-click on the caption bar.  The welcome page in Discovery now includes a hyperlink to easily access program options, licensing, and upgrades.

Options to exclude common "noise" when repackaging: when repackaging the most common source of "noise" in a package is from Windows Explorer, background services, and web browsers.  Unfortunately, we can't outright filter these out because often times what the user wants to capture is exactly this type of info.  So Discovery now has three simple checkboxes to include/exclude the above noise sources.

Discovery offers 3 compression levels:previous Discovery offered two compression levels; fully compressed and uncompressed.  It now offers a third option of partially compressed which is compressed cabinet files along side the uncompressed MSI file.

MSI schema version option is gone: the option to select MSI schema version is gone.  Even a power user who fully understands MSI would never had need to change this, so we no longer offer it in the UI and it is just be confusing to most users.

Repackaged applications work across more Windows platforms: in the previous version of Discovery, an application repackaged on Windows 7 or 8.x would not work on Vista, XP, or 2003 (because of the default MSI schema version).  Discovery now generates packages that work across the greatest number of Windows platforms by using the MSI schema with the greatest compatibility level.

Improved Discovery filters: the filters in Discovery are greatly improved.  We basically started from scratch on the filters with an emphasis on filtering out "noise" by process instead of location.  The result is almost 100% elimination of all "noise" on all versions of Windows.

Noticeable performance improvements: the new code written to replace all the old Legacy code is noticeably faster.  For example take iTunes (which is a deceptively large package).  The new code is 32% faster than the old code.  The cool part is, for the most part the new code has not been optimized for performance.  So if/when we have time to actually tweak this for performance we'll be able to squeeze even more performance out of the new code

Registry bug fix in the event monitor driver: found and fixed a bug in the code that monitors registry access.  Under certain circumstances on certain versions of Windows the old code would not detect all registry key access.  The new code fixes this problem.

Better MSI installation detection: for CE and Pro Eval versions we need to know if an MSI was installed.  The old code would sometimes produce a false-positive because of application dependencies such as the C runtime.  Discovery now accurately detects MSI installations without these false-positives.

Better 32-bit / 64-bit handing: the old code would always create a 64-bit package when running on 64-bit Windows even if the application was 32-bit.  Discovery now does its best to create a 32-bit package for 32-bit applications regardless of the host OS.  However, because of the way the Windows registry works, this is not always possible.

More accurate registry tracking: the new Discovery does a better job of exactly replicating the original package's registry key access.

Enhanced output log: the output log from a repackage job has been enhanced.  It includes hyperlinks to easily navigate to different sections, additional useful info (such as the version of Windows the repackage was performed on), and even a splash of color to make the log more appealing.

Files are only cleaned up on success: the previous version of Discovery had a command line option (/d) that was for diagnostic mode.  When enabled, it did not cleanup files after repackaging.  This was useful when diagnosing customers with bad packages.  The downside was, when things went wrong, the customer had to run it twice, they had to run is a second time to add the /d option.  Now, Discovery keeps these files around if a problem occurs during package creation.  So the customer won't need to rerun Discovery a second time.

Half the size of the previous version: mostly because of the elimination of the Legacy code, the new version of Smart Packager is half the size of the previous version.  This translates into a smaller download and quicker install.

 

 

Most importantly : the license is a license per console (multiple users per machine) and not a license console / with 1 user only as proposed by others products. That means that you can install it on a physical machine and have several users on the same physical machine (eg virtual machines), which represents a considerable advantage regarding the cost of the license.

How can I accelerate my migrations towards App-V 5.0? As you know, App-V is the solution for virtualisation applications from Microsoft, allowing to solve numerous problems well known (setting-up time for a PC, deployment time, etc.). Before, it is necessary "to package" your applications to make it compatible with the App-V 5 plateform. This is the role of the new version 3.0 of Smart Packager for all your App-V 5.

Discovering how Smart Packager 3.0 will help you for all your App-V5

How do I accelerate the move to App-V 5.0?

  • App-V 5 is a significant change – an entirely new package format

  • Many organizations have hundreds, even thousands of App-V 4.5 or App-V 4.6 applications (= Smart Packager V2)

  • The move to App-V 5.0 is no small task in terms of workload and cost

  • Microsoft has provided tools but that is something new to learn and it’s not integrated

  • IT Managers are concerned about the amount of time it will take packagers to perform this task

  • Seeking a solution that can standardize and automate the entire process

Smart Packager V3 - Enhanced  Support for App-V

  • Automatically prepare applications for reliable application virtualization deployment with a complete set of automated conversion, validation, editing and reporting capabilities

  • Streamlines and automates tasks to provide consistency, standardization and reliability

     

 

FEATURES

  • Automatic conversion of App-V 4.X, MSI and Legacy Installers to App-V 5.0

  • One at a time or in groups

  • Editing of App-V 5.0 packages

No more failed installations, unexpected errors or frustrated employees unable to work…because of you.

Smart Packager is a simple to use yet powerful solution ready to help you avoid the common pitfalls of deployment and update packaging caused by nonintegrated, unwieldy, manual processes.

It anticipates the hazards and solves issues before they occur. An intuitive wizard-based interface guides IT administrators through application packaging and repackaging of existing MSI’s to ensure quick, reliable rollouts.

Event Based Discovery” automatically creates packages that work. Convert any EXE, Setup batch file, script, and system change into an MSI package in just minutes.

Enjoy the benefits of “Smart Repackaging”. Need to repackage an existing MSI ? No problem. This special technology enables you to swiftly repackage Windows installer packages (MSI  packages); preserving many of the features that typical repackaging loses. Superior to the usual Snapshot methods, Smart Repackaging ensures that future upgrades and patching will work correctly.

End the Headaches from Snapshot Discover Technology. Smart Packager’s “Event Based Discovery” integrates with the OS to track changes real-time, eliminating the lengthy and risk-filled process of manually comparing large snapshots.

Simple App-V Package Creation. Smart Packager automatically initiates the App-V sequencer to help you easily build App-V packages while simultaneously creating MSI packages.

Enhanced SAM: Software Identification Tagging. Enable license optimization by creating an accurate application inventory. The solution automatically adds an ISO 19770-2 compliant tag to your application packages; which can then be edited or removed if necessary.

Enforced Best Practices: Integrated Workflow Management.The solution guides users through standardized steps for application packaging process: creation, modification, and testing. Integrated Workflow Manager is at the heart of Application Packaging and guides the IT Administrator through a common best practices workflow process.

Comprehensive Package Editing and Authoring. The intuitive visual editor can be used to edit MSI packages. that have gone through the workflow process. This essential tool simplifies the configuration of multi-application package installations, eliminating costly deployment issues and reducing IT costs.

Smart Packager includes and Advanced MSI Table authoring and editing tool, for advanced MSI package customization and authoring to simplify the configuration of multi-application software installations, eliminating deployment issues and reducing support costs for application suites.

Add support for a common "packages" folder: Smart Packager now has the option to add application packages to a common packaging folder, e.g. a network share where an organization stores all application packages. Benefit: at the core of Smart Packager is the common packages folder, which forms a central repository for storing and testing applications. This folder allows administrators to group multiple deployment formats by application and provides a single unified view of all applications in all formats.

Deploy Application Packages via Leading Software Deployment Systems. Create packages to deploy with leading deployment systems including WinINSTALL LMS, Microsoft SCCM, Novell ZENworks, LANDesk Management Suite, BMC Configuration Management, IBM Tivoli and Microsoft Group Policy/Active Directory.

Smart Packager is the most widely used MSI packaging tool. Almost every enterprise IT organization must routinely deploy applications, updates, or patches. And experience proves that IT practices have a direct impact on the outcome. Inadequate quality control, lack of standardization or poorly packaged applications can strain help desks, burden IT resources, and limit end-user productivity. The process always goes more smoothly with properly prepared applications and managed deployment; two practices that correlate directly to application availability.

Download Smart Packager data sheet

How to use Smart Packager with examples

Download Smart Packager Presentation

Tips How to use Smart Packager Pro

Case Study with Smart Packager Pro

Smart_Packager_Complete_ProdAdminGuide

App-V packaging

Automatic Conversion

 


 

Some tips when using an evaluation edition of the Smart Packager CE. Below you will find some Smart Packager Pro Best Practices. They yield the best possible results while minimizing the post-capture modification of the package.

1. Close all non-essential applications. This helps to ensure the changes added to the new package are only those changes made by the desired application and not other programs that were active on the system at the time of capture.

2. Use a clean system. Many applications do not fully uninstall, therefore subsequent re-installations will not create the full set of files and registry keys associated with the package.

3. Stop anti-virus and other similar programs. It is not uncommon for anti-virus software to block applications from making changes to the system which would result in an incomplete repackaging.

4. Disable Windows Update and other auto-updating programs.

5. Ensure the system is not busy performing other tasks, e.g. search indexing.

6. After installation is complete, wait a few seconds before stopping the monitoring process. Some installations continue modifying the system even after the installation program has completed. Non-MSI installations can spawn child processes which can continue to modify the system. Even MSI-based installations can use the Windows Installer Service to perform installation tasks after the initial setup has completed.

7. Perform the capture on a system that is very similar to the final target systems. For example, for an organization that uses Windows XP SP3 with .NET 4.0, do not perform the capture on Windows 7 SP1.

8. Repackage 32-bit applications on 32-bit Windows. Although 32-bit installations can be repackaged on 64-bit Windows, it is recommended to repackage 32-bit applications on 32-bit Windows. A 32-bit application installed on 64-bit Windows creates up to twice as many registry keys (once in the 64-bit hive and again in the 32-bit hive) which increases the size and complexity of the package and also prevents the new package from being installed on 32-bit Windows.

9. Consider handling dependencies separately from main applications.

10. Consider the use of a virtual machine as the machine on which the package is captured.

 

 


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