MSIX, PSF Framework Questions coming from an App-V environment

Copper Contributor



I am coming from an App-V environment.  Been using it for a long time and I've had great success with it.  I figured it's probably time I bit and started learning how to prepare my apps with MSIX before I its too late.


I am an app re-pacakger.  I take other peoples software and deploy it for my users, so I don't have the luxury to ask for code changes (you guys know, most companies would just laugh anyway).  I've read some astonishing numbers about the success of packaging, but quite frankly, outside of simple modern applications, I'm not having the luck I did with App-V.


I was wondering someone had some insight to share with me on how one would attack this application I'm working with.   The problem's I'm seeing are:


* Program installs to the C:\StencilCad Basic8.  It will let you change it, but I've found it's best not to.

* The program looks in <installdir> for an ini file to get the location of a database.  By default, this database is in the <installdir> (the path above).  

* Upon termination of the program, the application tries to write to a database in <installdir>.  I've looked at the inside of almost every file, and I can't find a location (like an ini file) I can change to move the file.


I started by just repackaging with MSIx Packaging Tool from microsoft.  Things seemed to go well until the obvious write issues were encountered.  Digging in, it looked the the PSF framework was the next step.  This seemed easy enough -- made my edits per the documentation on and went on my way.  No change.  


I then stumbled across PSFTooling.  Rebuilt the vm, re-sequenced the app, and before "moving on", I fired up PSFTooling in advanced mode and ran the shortcut wizard.  I did have to selected the PVAD mode because, for some reason, it was detecting the installer as from the installshield components.  I also tried this method by specifying the install folder in the seuqncer per Tim's docs -- no go.


Poking around, I found Advanced Installer.  This looked great -- I could fire up exe and test it and apply fixes right in the packager.  This was even worse -- the application would never even start.  After fiddling a bit, I moved on.


I'm just not really sure where to go here.  I'm using this app as a learning example, as it seems to a pretty good one to learn from!  


With App-V, I would just tick the box to give the user full control over VFS and move on without blinking an eye and App-V would take care of all the redirection.  I'm not sure if I'm following the right path to get this application up and running or if I'm of on an bad tangent. Docs are still rather slim, and most examples I see are for simple application (you know, those custom ones people wrote to show what you CAN do -- thats always easy when you write the code!!).


I figured I'd shoot a message over here and see if I can kickstart my msix skills in the right direction.  Also would appreciate any recommendations for any active communities to poke around in.  


Thanks in advance, and I very much look forward to the conversation!

2 Replies

@Joe Robinson  Repackaging many apps are certainly more work with MSIX than with App-V.  But you can probably get there for many of the apps.


In my last round of testing, I did note that applications that installed into private directories like you mention are having problems with the FileRedirectionFixup.  I would recommend using a "PVAD" style installation until this gets looked into.


I also found another issue with the FRF that affects more kinds of packages which I just submitted a fix for.  This might be involved with your issues and will be included in the next version of PsfTooling soon (something more recent than the current 4.8).


There are many ways in which the application can determine what that installdir is.  I think we have most of them covered.  Do keep in mind that we often solve the initial issue with an app under MSIX only to find additional issues, so make sure you aren't fighting the wrong problem!

Hi @Joe Robinson,


Bogdan, from Advanced Installer here.


I noticed you had some problems when trying our packaging solution for your app. Can you share more details (what version of AI and what package did you converted)? In this thread or email me at bogdan dot mitrache at caphyon dot com