Detection of the Windows Installer installation and log files and the ability to repackage directly to an MST file
This release brings several improvements regarding the handling of installations which execute native Windows Installer sessions in the background. For example, when an executable setup.exe is merely a wrapper that silently runs an MSI installation, PackBot is able to capture the file and copy it back to the project folder. Depending on the settings, a transform file(MST) which can be applied to the original vendor installation can be created. When encountering an MSI file during repackaging, PackBot can be additionally configured to create a repackaged MSI anyway. This allows, for example, for repackaging of MSI wrappers where the internal logic is not relevant.
It is possible to convert to App-V 4.6 and App-V 5.x without the Sequencer being installed on a virtual machine
We have added new options for App-V 4.6 and App-V 5.x. This release provides a choice whether the repackaging should be performed using Microsoft Sequencer installed on a virtual machine (native conversion), or converted by locally using our Sequencer-less conversion. The latter enables user to perform a bulk conversion of their packages to App-V format without having any App-V libraries at all.
Automatic/on-demand reboot in both interactive and non-interactive mode
We have improved how reboots are handled by PackBot. Users can manually set attributes on a package basis that will force a reboot after installation or use an implicit approach - once the installation reboots the machine from itself, PackBot will pick up after the virtual machine has finished its reboot. Together with an option to delay second snapshot, it is now possible to reboot on demand by simply pressing a button inside of a prompt. By doing so, it is possible to achieve complex scenarios, for example rebooting after installation and then after the configuration have all changes applied, capturing services, drivers and file operations etc.. Automatic reboots are an opt-in option and have to be activated when needed, the default is to not reboot.
Improved queue processing
In previous releases, a single package was defined as from powering on the machine to the end of postconversion (to get converted MSI, RCP, RPP, and other files). During post-conversion which is always running locally, the machine was left active and could not be reused by subsequent task. We have optimized this behavior - version 5.2 will return the machine to the pool as soon as it is not needed anymore and postprocessing is done concurrently. Additionally, I/O consuming post-processing operations are now sequenced one after another, so that while virtual machines run in parallel, the post conversion which runs on the very end is synchronous for a better I/O performance. Overall, this may save (depending on complexity of the packages) from a few seconds up to several minutes for every task running in bulk conversion. There are no performance penalties or wins when running only a single task or running exclusively App-V conversions with the help of the Microsoft Sequencer. In certain scenarios this change may lead to a situation in which the number of concurrently processed task is, for short time, higher than the number of maximum parallel jobs which are defined in the wizard. This is fine, the meaning of this setting has been precised in 5.2 release to actually define how many virtual machines can run in parallel, and not how many jobs are actually processed concurrently.
The PackBot command line accepts a new switch for the configuration of the target format
Based on many requests, we have added a new command line switch to the PackBot command line. This switch allows for the definition of the target type of the conversion (for example App-V, MSI, RCP etc.).
The ability to automatically turn off virtual machine after completing PackBot task
A new setting has been added to the Settings screen. A checkbox can be used to control whether virtual machines are to be powered off after the conversion is finished. By default, this setting is enabled.
New dialogs and properties to manually control merging and isolation levels
With this release, users have more control on isolation (App-V 4.6/5.x) and merging levels (ThinApp). Folder and registry keys can be configured separately, and relevant options can be found in their respective properties dialog. If no value is provided by the user, then RayPack tries to use reasonable default values (based on location and content of the folder/registry key).
Detection of Windows Installer installation and log files, ability to repackage directly to an MST file
This release brings several improvements regarding the handling of installations which execute native Windows Installer sessions in the background. For example, when an executable setup.exe is merely a wrapper that silently runs an MSI installation, PackRecorder is able to capture the file and copy it to the project folder. A new view has been added which shows (if available) information about the original installation sources.
Improved performance and memory consumption during RCP->MSI and RCP->RPP conversion
The memory footprint and the conversion speed have been improved. The result varies based on the complexity of the setups, but as a rule of thumb, the bigger the setup is the higher the performance gain that has been achieved. For example, packages which previously took 6 minutes to generate using RayPack 5.1 now take under 4 minutes, which is around 35% faster.
Extended and optimized exclusions lists for files, folders and registries
We have consolidated and optimized existing regular expressions for the default set of filters which are now executing slightly faster to execute. Additionally, new rules and exclusions have been added to produce cleaner output files.
If an UNC path is provided, RayPack asks whether the product should be started from that path instead of copying its setup to VM
If a path to the tailored MSI starts with double backslash, then RayPack asks the user whether to copy the file to the virtual machine or to start it directly from the shared location. Starting it directly is generally way faster than copying the resources to the virtual machine and can be used if both machines have access to the shared location.
Configurable and extendible custom wrapper templates/files
5.2 is more flexible than the previous releases, and it allows for complete customization of the toolkit wrapper.
Added a command line switch for the unattended creation of wrappers
For an unattended generation of PowerShell-based wrappers, an extension to RayPack CLI has been implemented. The new command wrap with its mandatory and several optional parameters can be used to create wrappers in a fully automated way.
The Build options screen for App-V 4.6 and 5.x has been redesigned
We have cleaned up the build settings for App-V 5.x. Several options which were rarely used and which could cause issues with non-Microsoft products have been removed. For example, in RayPack 5.2 it is no longer possible to disable file, registry, shortcut, and other subsystems. They are always enabled. A new option has been added to configure the meaning of the INSTALLDIR folder. If the checkbox Treat INSTALLDIR as Primary Virtual Application Directory (PVAD) is checked, the folder will be converted to a root folder and any content outside of it will be written into the VFS. Unchecking the option will put everything into the VFS.