After years of packaging and training people on packaging, it became increasingly clear to me that the most difficult thing to teach was the clean-up process. Understanding what belongs and what does not belong in a package is something that comes with experience. If you don’t really understand the internals of Windows, creating a quality package is a roll of the dice. Seeing this need, I came up with PackageCleaner.
My good friend Steve Behrns and I had formed iTripoli as a software company in support of the KiXscripts Editor and this was to be our second product offering. I handled product management, sales and marketing while my partner focused on development. We did outsourced some of the work (like the below graphic which was very important to me for some reason).
You’d load an MSI and it would scan its contents for items that my not belong in a package. It’s not usually a certain thing if any given item may or may not be necessary. So it would highlight anything suspicious along with amplifying information about why you may not want to include it (and what may happen if it is left in). For things you select to remove, the items are actually just moved to a new table in the MSI database and not actually deleted so they can be easily put back if you determine something you selected is actually needed. It had a crowd-sourced back end so users were encouraged to share any items they decided to remove which were not already documented.
Ultimately the application was too difficult to market even with AppDeploy at my disposal to help get the word out about it. It was a very technical product aimed directly at packagers and it was not always easy for them to explain the need for it to management to secure funding. It sold for a couple of years, but was ultimately abandoned when we decided to focus on a rewrite of KiXscripts Editor called the Admin Script Editor. When we decided to stop its development, it was resigned to a free tool that would ship with the AppDeploy Library.
PackageCleaner is a quality assurance tool for those repackaging legacy applications into Windows Installer setups (MSI files) using products such as Package Studio, AdminStudio or WinInstall. PackageCleaner serves as an add-in for an organization’s repackaging process no matter what products are currently used by helping to identify and describe elements that may not belong in a repackaged MSI setup. It offers suggestions on what elements may cause problems and what may safely be left in. Including files in a setup that do not belong results in a dirty package which may become the source for a number of deployment and operational problems. PackageCleaner serves as the only descriptive resource for this information and even provides a simple mechanism to exclude (or subsequently include) any items deemed unwanted in the MSI setup.
PackageCleaner is available today at AppDetails as a free user-at-your-own-risk download being offered to encourage community participation. Does it work on Windows 10? Nobody has told me it doesn’t yet 😉