Here are some software programs that are free for software packaging/repackaging needs.
- Orca – Orca is the “standard” MSI table editor. A bit tricky to use, but you’ll often find instructions for editing MSIs that assume you’re using it.
- InstEd – InstEd is a free software program similar to Orca, but better and with more features.
- AppDeploy Repackager – AppDeploy Repackager takes a snapshot before an application is installed and takes another one afterward. It then compares the snapshots and puts the difference into an MSI file. Usually a few extra items that might cause trouble get caught up in the capture, so remove them with Orca or InstEd.
- WinInstall LE – WinInstall LE is the free edition of a MSI editor and repackager from a company that sells full-featured editions. It can accomplish many of the tasks necessary for getting simple applications repackaged as MSIs.
- Advanced Installer – Advanced Installer offers a free MSI tool as well. I haven’t used it, so I can’t say if its worth grabbing or not.
- Others – AppDeploy has a list of all sorts of utilities for MSI files. Some of these are free and some cost money.
- RegFromApp – While not explicitly an MSI tool, watching what registry changes are made by an app while you configure it allows you to easily export those settings back into your MSI.
So I’ve got these programs, now what?
Also, sometimes you get lucky and the software developer provides tools to make your life easier. As much as I despise Adobe, they make a killer tool for editing the Adobe Acrobat and Adobe Reader MSIs.