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How to Convert EXE to MSI Package

This article describes how to repackage your source installation (EXE, MSI, VBS, CMD, etc.) into MSI package using PACE Suite - MSI Generator.

 

You can find general information about repackaging scenarios in section 3.1 of the PACE Suite Getting Started document.

Review the educational video on how to convert EXE to MSI.

 

Step-by-step instruction of converting EXE to MSI using the Monitoring capturing method:

  1. Launch MSI Generator.
  2. Click Capture installation.
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  3. Review the issues, which were detected on your system, and try to resolve them by closing the non-essential applications and stopping services. Thereafter, click Next>.
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  4. Select the Monitoring method and click Next >.
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  5. Click Next>.
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  6. Click Select and run… to choose your source installation.
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  7. Choose an executable file of the source installation (e.g. 7z1604-64.exe), which you want to repackage and click Open.
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  8. Follow installation steps of the launched source installation to complete it. At this phase you can make any application configuration you need to be captured and included into your package.
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  9. Once the source installation is completed, check if the Detected MSI installations field contains discovered MSI installers. Your source installation (EXE) could contain embedded MSI installers, launched hidden. As you may know, it is not recommended to recapture vendor MSI into MSI, because they could contain custom business logic in binary Custom Actions. This custom logic could not be captured and re-created again in MSI properly. So, if you have the detected MSI installation, cancel the capturing process and switch to editing MSI (described in section 3.6 of the PACE Suite Getting Started document). The detected MSI is copied to the project folder.
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    In our example, ‘7z1604-x64’ does not have embedded MSI installations, so we go next to complete the capturing process.
  10. Select the I have finished the installation checkbox and click the Next >.
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  11. Click Finish to complete the wizard.
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  12. (optional) In order to review the captured files and exclude unnecessary ones, go to the Files tab. Select Exclude from the context menu of a file or folder, which does not belong to your application and could not be a part of your package.
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  13. (optional) In order to review the captured registry entries and exclude unnecessary ones, open the Registry tab. Select Exclude from the context menu of a registry entry, which does not belong to your application.
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  14. In order to generate the MSI package from your project, navigate to the Package -> MSI tab, verify Application Details such as name, publisher, version, and click Build MSI.
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  15. Click Go to…, located next to the MSI file name field, to open the package containing folder in Windows Explorer.
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