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Making msi's for Rolling out with group policy

We are getting ready to start deploying 100's of computers and we want to automate the software installs as much as possible...  Has anyone had any good luck with this for any product across the board?  I heard of a solution where you get a fresh xp box, it takes a snapshot of everything, you install the prodcut, and then it takes another snapshot.  After that is all done you compare the two snap shots and see what the differences are and it builds a MSI that will allow you to deploy it on a domain.  But I can't remember what it's called....
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bluntTonyHead of ICT
Top Expert 2009

HI there,
Wise (now Symantec) Installation Studio has a Setup Capture feature which allows you to do this. Download a trial : http://www.wisesolutions.com/Products/Installations/WiseInstallationStudio.aspx
I take it your software is exe's? Group Policy does allow you to create ZAP files for deploying exe's via group policy, but these can only be published to Users, not assigned to computers or users.
Do you already have a list which applications you want to deploy?

You can create MSI-files with Advanced Installer (http://www.advancedinstaller.com/). It also can repackage application installs (snapshot) when using the enterprise edition.

But I don't recommend to use repackaging application setups regardless which software you use. For very small and not often updates apps that only need their files in the ProgramFiles-dir, a shortcut in the start menu and/or the desktop this might be useful but in my experience the time savings in the beginning are not worth the trouble in the end that you get when you have to update dozens of applications you deployed this way.

Most applications can be installed silent using command line switches or other methods provided by the company that created the application.
A good start for this is www.appdeploy.com

Also have a look at the 'WSUS Extension Pack'. (http://www.eminentware.com/index.htm)
With the WSUS Extension Pack you can use WSUS to deploy your applications.
AwinishSenior Solution Architect

There is WIndows deployment service in windows 2003, Operating system deployment using SCCM 2007. So you can use these prodcut.
Even configuration of all the network machine are same Norton Ghost is the answer.

I have tried what you are mentioning with the snapshot installation. It does work (sort of) but I wouldnt reccomend it. There is a free tool called winstall le that will let you take snapshots before and after installation. The problem with this as mentioned above is that your not really installing with the companys msi file. Many things are changed/added/modified when doing the differential.

I would look into doing what you can with manufacturer msi's and looking at either a software deployment solution like SMS/SCCM or using scripts to install your software.

You can use a startup script to run exe's with their command lines that you can not run through group policy software installation.

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