Horatiu Vladasel

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.

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#POWERSHELL #MSI #MSIX #APPV #CUSTOM ACTION #TIPS #PSF #WINDOWS #WIX

Written articles

Digital Signing for Application and Software Developers - In-Depth Guide and Resources

A digital signature guarantees the authenticity of an electronic document or message. In the software industry, code signing provides an added layer of security and trust that you're using a code that comes from an original vendor and not a third-party that could have maliciously altered the code.

Implementing Active Setup in Enterprise Software Deployments with PSADT

PowerShell App Deployment Toolkit (PSADT) is the go-to solution for enterprises aiming to standardize their software deployment process.

How to create a URL Shortcut to open a specific website in MSIX

Whether it's in-house applications, custom-made software, or applications from third-party vendors, there are times when we need to package them with a URL shortcut.

Modifying UWP Applications using the MutablePackageDirectory feature

Today, we're exploring the WindowsApps folder that you find in Windows 10 and 11. This folder holds all the files for UWP (Universal Windows Platform) applications on your computer.

PSF Fixups - MSIX Packaging Tool's Latest Feature

With the release of version 1.2023.1005.0, the MSIX Packaging Tool has introduced an exciting new feature: PSF Fixups. This feature allows for the automatic injection of PSF fixups, eliminating the need for manual configuration. It applies to both converted packages (from App-V 5 to MSIX) and those created from scratch.

Exploring the Package Analyzer Feature in MSIX Packaging Tool

With the release of version 1.2023.1005.0, MSIX Packaging Tool has introduced a significant new feature: the Package Analyzer.

App-V to MSIX conversion: StartMenu folder skipped during conversion

When you switch from using App-V to MSIX for packaging your applications, you'll notice a big change in how shortcuts work. MSIX doesn't use the old .lnk shortcuts StartMenu you might be used to. Instead, it uses something called “modern application entries.”

MSIX VFS AppData - Notepad++ disable autoupdate issues

When deploying with MSIX, the files and folders within the user's AppData directory (located under C:\Users\<user_name>\AppData) are written to a per-user, per-app location.

Shell Context Menu Support in MSIX Packaging

The Context Menu is undeniably one of the most useful shell extensions in Windows. This menu appears when you right-click on an object, like a file, folder, or icon, in Windows Explorer or File Explorer.

How to convert a PowerShell Script into an EXE Shortcut

In software development and system administration, automation is crucial. Consider this: you want a PowerShell script to run every time an application starts.

App-V to MSIX conversion: Environment Variables

In our previous article, we simplified the steps of App-V 5 to MSIX conversion using MSIX Packaging Tool and Advanced Installer. We went even further and saw How to Automate the App-V to MSIX conversion.

App-V to MSIX Conversion: WorkingDirectory skipped during conversion

In our latest article, we discussed App-V to MSIX conversion: Shortcut argument skipped during conversion. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The same goes for WorkingDirectory.

App-V to MSIX conversion: Shortcut argument skipped during conversion

Automatically converting your App-V application to MSIX spares you from rebuilding them from the ground up.

The Main Benefits of Application Packaging - A Business Perspective

In business, we often have to weigh the differences between expenses and true investments. Take the application packaging industry, for example.

How to package AdvancedView (with Java bundled) as MSIX

Repackaging aWin32 app with Java dependencies as MSIX can often be challenging.

MSIX: LoaderSearchPathOverride extension fix for "DLL not found" issue

Application packaging is an ever-evolving domain, and MSIX has become the de facto choice for IT professionals and developers.When an application is packaged as an MSIX, it runs within a containerized environment that provides isolation and security.

How to access an MSI database table using PowerShell

If you’ve worked with MSI Windows Installer, you most likely know that the Windows Installer database includes various interrelated tables as a standard format for component management.

How to troubleshoot an MSIX package failure with the Package Support Framework

MSIX applications can behave differently when running in an MSIX container.

How to create an MSIX package for a Portable App

Alright, let's dive into the fascinating world of portable applications!

How to Add a File to an MSI Installer with Embedded CAB

Cabinet files, also known as CAB files, are files that store compressed files in a file library. When it comes to Windows Installers, cabinet files can be located either inside or outside the MSI file.

How to Easily Convert Your MSIX Package Into MSI

Even though MSI is still the preferred packaging format, there's no question that MSIX is a great complement to MSI and AppV.

How to Troubleshoot MSI Error 1603: Fatal Error During Installation

MSI is a Windows Installer package format that uses Microsoft’s Windows Installer service to manage the installation (and uninstallation) of applications.

How to extract an MSI file from an EXE installer: A comprehensive guide

The MSI Windows Installer is the most popular packaging format used in Enterprise environments. A lot of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) create their software installer using MSI Windows Installer technology, whether they provide the installer in MSI format directly or wrap it into a setup EXE.

SCCM Dependency: Supersedence Rule in Application Packaging - 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.

How to repackage Java dependent applications as MSIX

Java is an essential component within enterprise environments, powering various business-critical applications that are necessary for daily operations. However, it is also the most targeted platform for malware and cyber-attacks, posing a significant security risk to organizations that rely on it.

How to install MSI from Batch Script

Batch scripting is still widely used within organizations all over the world, despite the popularity of PowerShell, which is a more powerful programming language. Almost every task or action can be executed by a sequence of commands typed on the Windows Command Prompt.

Automating Application Installation with Configuration Manager: Deploying Software using Package vs Application Model

Installing and maintaining software applications across a large number of workstations can be a cumbersome and time-consuming operation for any enterprise.

Create an MSI Installer by packaging an Electron application

Electron is an open-source framework to develop desktop GUI applications using web technologies. It combines the Chromium rendering engine and the Node.js runtime.

MSIX limitations: How to fix “DLL not found” issue

It is commonly known that MSX technology comes with a set of limitations that most of the packagers must deal with, in spite of all its benefits.

3 Ways of Handling User Resources in MSI: Self-Repair, Active-Setup, CustomAction

As IT Pros, we deal with all sorts of application installers developed by different software vendors. We also need to configure and customize each of those applications to fit our organization's needs.

How to Set Up an Environment Variable in MSIX to Directory and File Paths

Environmental variables, as their name implies, are variables that specify the environment in which a program runs.

How to Automate App-V 5 to MSIX Conversion

IT professionals are now considering switching from App-V to MSIX technology more than ever, since main-stream support for App-V ended a few years back and extended support is due to end in a few years (April 14, 2026). However, as it happens with change, this shift comes with many challenges when converting App-V packages to MSIX.

How to convert an App-V 5 file to MSIX

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) is a fully developed technology that enterprises use to deliver Win32 applications as virtual applications.

Application Packaging Process - The End-to-End Tutorial

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.

Digital Signing Complete Guide

A digital signature guarantees the authenticity of an electronic document or message in an electronic format. In the software industry, code signing provides an added layer of security and trust that you're using a code that comes from an original vendor and not a third-party that could have maliciously altered the code.

How to create a WiX KeyPath attribute

How to pass CustomActionData to a CustomAction using WiX

Do you want to transfer CustomActionData to a CustomAction in WiX? We'll show you how in this article.

What are the differences between INSTALLDIR and TARGETDIR?

In this article, we'll talk about how Windows Installer defines the directory location of an installation, what the INSTALLDIR and TARGETDIR properties are, and what is the difference between them.

How to Uninstall an MSI package (with UI and silently) - 7 Methods to Use in the Enterprise Environment

Uninstalling a package is as important as installing it, so it's crucial to handle it with care.

What is software packaging and why is it important?

Software packaging is the process of building an installer that includes all your applications' resources and can be used to distribute them on the end-user devices.

How to find the ProductCode GUID of an installed MSI

A ProductCode is made up of string GUIDs containing numbers and uppercase letters.

Silent Install Builder for IT Pros - How to build a silent installer package

Silent installs are the preferred delivery method within an enterprise environment given that end-users don't have to worry about installing or having technical knowledge and just focus on using the software products.

Microsoft SignTool - our favorite Windows code signing tool

Code signing is one of the most reliable ways to secure and authentify that our code is trustworthy. It is achieved by signing executables and scripts using a digital certificate with a unique cryptographic hash to connect the identity of the publisher to the software. This code signed certificate includes all the information required to fully identify the publisher.

How to launch or call .BAT file from an MSIX shortcut

Applications behave differently when running within an MSIX container. For example, you cannot set a non-executable file as a target for your application by default.

Top 10 most common ICE Validation Errors and How to Fix them

We extremely recommend you to validate an MSI before attempting to install it for the first time.

Troubleshooting MSIX Installation Errors with the Free MSIX Troubleshooter tool

In this article, we will take a look at how MSIX technology handles log files whenever an installation issue occurs.

How to fix file redirection for Win32 applications running in an MSIX container

When Win32 applications run inside an MSIX container, they behave differently than when they are installed natively. Because of that, we come across errors in the operations we often perform.

The most common MSIX limitations and how to fix them with the Package Support Framework (PSF)

Advanced Installer was the first application to fully support MSIX technology – and we truly believe in its power.

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.

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 use WiX Installer to start and install a Windows Service

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 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.

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.

MSIXBUNDLE - What is, how to create, open 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.

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.

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.