Horatiu Vladasel

Horatiu is a Software Packager/Sequencer with over 10 years experience, who has worked as a Software Packager at IBM and is currently offering software packaging services to companies such as BT or Nationwide.


Written articles

How To Programmatically Retrieve The Version of Your Executable At Build Time

There are scenarios where you need to change a file version programmatically with each launch. To achieve that, we will set an installer property that changes with each release and then uses its value within your installer.

How To Backup and Restore Files during a Major Upgrade using Custom Actions

One of the main things we need to consider when performing a Major Upgrade is how we will backup and restore our previous files and folders.

Registering DLL and OCX Files in MSI Packages - 3 Recommended Techniques

In order to allow a program to execute, you must first register its extension as a DLL or OCX.

How To Add Custom Actions in WiX Toolset

We have a list of Wix-related articles meant to help developers navigate through the tool in a seamless way. From implementing upgrades with WiX to embedding CAB options in MSI - you can find a lot of helpful materials on our main WiX page.

How To Add Windows Services with WiX Toolset

An important characteristic that we've highlighted in our series of posts about Windows Installer XML Toolset (WiX) is that it doesn't have a GUI. It builds the Windows Installer package with the information defined in the WiX source file (XML based).

How To: Replace a file in an existing installer

The method to replace an existing configuration file varies depending on the application installer's format. For example, whether it's a vendor MSI from an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) or an EXE.

How to Use The File Extensions Entry Point to Trigger Self-healing in an MSI

Self-healing, also known as self-repair, is one of the major benefits of the Windows Installer technology. In simple words, it ensures packages are secure and resilient by automatically checking and fixing them.

How To: Create MSIX Package in Visual Studio

Microsoft Visual Studio is the most popular integrated development environment (IDE) among Windows developers. It supports a large variety of programming languages including C, C++, C#, F#, Visual Basic .Net, JavaScript, among others.

How to Use CustomActionData to Access Windows Installer Properties in Deferred CustomActions

In my experience, CustomActions can be difficult to add and set up, especially in MSI, often requiring reviewing lengthy documentation or dealing with unexpected failures or bugs. If you started your career prior to the App-V and MSIX era, you have probably come across various applications installers that required reverse engineering work.

Introduction to Windows Services in MSIX

Up until 2020, Windows Services were not supported in MSIX -- which represented a blocker for organizations looking to transition their applications (that used Windows Services) to MSIX technology.

Don't Do It: Use Immediate CustomAction For Changing The System State

TL;DR: Let's put it bluntly, you should never set a CustomAction to “Immediate” when you intend to change the system state.

The Dependency - Supersedence Rule in Configuration Manager - Bug or Feature?

If we were to manually install and manage software on a large number of target devices, the process would be very expensive and complicated. To avoid that hassle, enterprises use software deployment tools to simplify these tasks.

Custom Actions in MSIX vs. MSI vs. App-V Scripting - A quick comparison

Scripts have been traditionally used by ISVs to add Custom Actions to their applications and make changes to the environment. They have been present in MSI and App-V packaging formats for ages, while for MSIX, they were introduced and supported about a year after Microsoft announced the MSIX release.

The Main Benefits for Application Packaging - A Business Perspective

There are situations when you have to know the difference between expense and investment. Within the packaging industry, we know that it is definitely not cheap to package all applications in your organization respecting all quality standards.

What is the MSIX Bundle and how to create and manage it?

Microsoft recently came out with an MSIX-related packaging format called the MSIX Bundle, which includes safer and more reliable deployments as well as auto-updates and improved widespread support - which makes our life easier as application packagers.

Application Management Challenges - An Application Packaging Perspective

Application Packaging itself is just a small step within the whole process, starting with the application being requested by the business, and resulting in a finished product that is rolled out to production devices.

The End-to-End Application Packaging Process. Industry best practices and insights

For the past 10+ years, I have worked with various projects and types of organizations as an Application Packager. During that time, I have witnessed some "elementary" mistakes that could have been easily avoided by having a clear understanding of the end-to-end application packaging process.

MSIX Modification Packages: Deploying custom application configurations.

MSIX Modification Package is a type of MSIX package format introduced by Microsoft with the goal of decoupling customizations from the main application. Launched with the release of their MSIX packaging format, the MSIX Modification Package is an MSIX package meant to store the customizations of the application.

Why Your Manually Installed Applications Count Should Be Zero

Nowadays, with Windows 7 running out of extended support, for those organizations who have not migrated to Windows 10 yet there is a race against time.

Packaging Series: How to build an MSIX package for an Electron application

In this article, we went through the process of building an MSI package for an Electron application and we have delved into how to parametrize a setting within the newly created Electron MSI package.

Windows Installer Role-based Guide

For those new to Windows deployment/management, Windows Installer is Microsoft's solution used for the installation, removal, but also maintenance of software. Windows Installer was released for the first time when Windows 95 came in and has been developed over time since then.

Building Transforms - Wise Package Studio vs. Advanced Installer

There are multiple package formats used for deploying Windows applications, the most well-known being the MSI – Windows Installer. If you didn't know already, an MSI is a database that can be easily customized through the use of command line parameters or MST transform files.

How to create an MSI package for an Electron application

For the purpose of this article, let’s suppose you have a simple “Hello World” JavaScript desktop application developed using Electron and which was bundled-in into an EXE. Basically, all what the application does is to open the below window.

Packaging Series: Repackaging Blender as MSIX

Blender is a free and open source 3D creation suite which includes a variety of tools such as Modeling, Rendering, Animation, Video Editing and many types of Simulations. Its source file can be downloaded from here and it comes in MSI format.

Installing a test certificate directly from an MSIX package

All MSIX packages must be digitally signed, no exception. In order to digitally sign your MSIX package, you can use a self-signed certificate. However, you need to ensure that same certificate used to sign the MSIX package is imported into the Computer's Trusted Root Certification Authorities on the target device where you plan to deploy your MSIX package. Otherwise, your MSIX will fail to install.

Environment variables - Wise Package Studio vs Advanced Installer

The Environment Table is used to create and set the values of environment variables.

How to set allowElevation flag for MSIX packages

Opposite to old Win32 apps, Modern Windows 10 apps come with full control of their access, just like modern mobile apps. You can control their access to certain APIs or resources like pictures, music, or hardware such as the camera or the microphone. Permissions must be requested within the package manifest.

Cost of Windows 7 extended support?

We know 13th Jan 2015 is the date when Microsoft's mainstream support for Windows 7 ended. Since then, Microsoft has continued to provide security updates for free and will do this until 14th Jan 2020 when Windows 7 extended support is going to end. As it has done with previous versions of Windows, the only people who will receive extended security updates (ESUs) after Jan 2020 will be those willing to pay for them.