Application Packaging and Virtualization Interview Questions

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Q: What is Application packaging?
The Application packaging is a process where an installer for the application is created. Usually, these files are available in binary files which are provided by the developers, they are packaged from a package.

Q: What is Application Repackaging?
The application repackaging is a process where it captures all the changes that are done by the installation program in the first instance. On top of the installation program, a customized changes are made to support the standard norms for the organizations.

Q: Briefly, explain the step of repackaging?
The following are the steps that are involved for repackaging:

1. First and foremost one has to go through the user requirement document so that one can understand the packaging requirements.
2. A technical analysis is performed so that vendor package is analyzed.
3. Work on the setup capture
4. Work on the setup customization
5. Perform UAT and Test packages
6. Work on the deployment aspects

Q: List out the main reasons why a repackaging is required?
The following are the main reasons why a repacking is required:

1. Customized installations are required
2. To reduce the support related costs
3. Should be able to self-repair without any dependencies

Q: Please list out all the problems associated with legacy installation?
The following are the problems associated with legacy installation;

1. Usually, they deal with high support costs
2. Easily penetrated installations and uninstallations, not concrete
3. It is difficult to deploy
4. Needs high trained resources to deploy, which aids extra costs

Q: List out few MSI packaging tools?
The following is the list of all MSI packaging tools:

>> InstallShield
>> Marimba
>> Wise Package Studio
>> Visual studio
>> SharpDevelop

Q: List out few MSI repackaging tools?
The following is the list of MSI repackaging tools:

>> Wise package studio
>> InstallShield
>> Marimba
>> SMS installer

Q: Name one deployment tool operated by Microsoft?
The deployment tool operated by Microsoft is :
Microsoft systems management server (SMS)

Q: List out the benefits of Windows installer?
The list of windows installer benefits are as follows:

>> Advertising
>> One of the best feature where installation can be done in demand
>> Repair itself
>> Rollback option
>> Managed shared resources

Q: Explain what is MSI?
MSI stands for Microsoft Windows Installer.

Usually, the installation file is one single file which does the entire the installation process.
It can be classified as a database which contains different tables. Each of these tables contains specific instructions and setup related information.

Q: What is the structure of MSI?
The structure of MSI is classified into three subsections:

1. Products: It is nothing but a collection of features
2. Features: it is nothing but a collection of all components
3. Components: it is nothing but a collection of all different type of files and registries

Q: What is a feature:
A feature is nothing but a collection of all the components.

Q: What is self-healing?
The process Self-healing is also called as Self-repair.

Once the MSI based application is triggered ( either by clicking on the shortcut or the file itself), first of all windows installer will be triggered and checks whether the application that is installed as a key path. Based on the check, if there is a mismatch between the system state and the value configured in the MSI package then the process will automatically apply the change to the current installation. With this process being said, the feature or the program is re installed without any extra help. This process is known as a self-repair or self-healing process.

Q: Explain what is a registry and the structure and the types of the registry?
The term Registry itself explains the functionality. It is one and only place which is used to store information about the Windows OS ( hardware and software related information). The structure is:

1. Root keys
2. Subkeys
3. Hives
4. Entries

Q: Explain what does service mean and what are the different type of services are available?
A service is nothing but a windows service which always runs in the background, it is loaded by Service Control manager of the operating system.

Typically they are two types of services that are available:

1. Win32 services
2. Kernel services

Win32 services:
Win32 services are the services which operate based on the executable file once installed by the application.

Kernel services:
Kernel services is also called as windows services. Usually, these types of services are used by the operating system to communicate with the hardware systems.

Q: Where is the service information generally stored?
The service information is generally stored within the windows registry hive.
HLKM/System/CurrentControlSet/Name of the Service”.

Q: Within MSI, which tables actually contain information related to the service details?
Within MSI, the service-related information is available in

>> Service install
>> Service Control

Service install will have all the service-related information and the service control will have all the information which is used to control the service during Installation and uninstallation process.

Q: What is environmental variable, what are the different types of variables that are available?
An environmental variable is a type of a variable which is set by the operating system and the application. The following are the two different types of variables that are available.

1. System variable: This variable is available for all the types of users
2. User Variable: This variable is available for only particular type of users only

Q: What is file association, explain in detail?
Within the Windows operating system, it is a routine that the file types are associated with the type of extensions they have. So operating system identifies the file types and links it back to the programs based on the file extension they possess.

A file which doesn’t have any file extension nor they don't have any association with the files then they are classified as “orphans”.

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Q: Define what is a property and what are the types of properties that are available?
A property is nothing but a global variable which is used by the Microsoft windows installer during the installations.

There are three types of properties that are available:

1. Private: This type of property is used where the installation needs to be done internally. Within this property, values cannot be changed. For example Manufacture, product code, product name, product version. These are few examples where the data cannot be changed during the installation process.
2. Public: This type of property is used where the installation needs to be done both internally and externally. For this type of property, the values can be changed during the run time as well. For example Installlevel is one of the parameters where the values can be changed during the installation process.
3. Restricted Public: This type of property is used where the installation needs to be done both internally and externally. For this type of property, the values cannot be changed during the runtime. For example ALL USERS, REBOOT etc.

Q: What is a merge module?
A merge module is nothing but a process within windows installer where it allows different companies to pre-packaged certain standard components and definitions into one single file. A merge module comes into existence where it needs to deliver a shared code or shared files or shared resources while setup process from a single compound file.

Q: How can you set permissions for files, folders and registry keys in MSI?
Within MSI, you can set permissions for files, folders and registry keys by using Lock permission table. To effectively use this, one has to use subinacl.exe as a custom action. This is one of the best ways to set permissions within MSI.

Q: Explain in detail what is meant by Transform?
A transform is nothing but a different type of windows installer, with the file format (.MST).

This file should be used along with MSI file while installation where the customization or change the installation package can be done without actually modifying the MSI. This type of installer can only apply transforms during the installations.

Q: What are different types of transforms that are available within MSI?
The following are three types of transforms that are available within MSI:

1. Embedded transform: Within this type of transform, the files are stored within the .msi file
2. Secured Transform: As the name implies, the files are actually stored in a local machine or a computer in a specific location, all this happens on a secure file system. The user usually doesn't have write access to the folder.
3. Unsecured transform: As per the name itself describes that this is a type of a transform where it is not secured. For an individual to apply an unsecured transform, they have to pass the transform file name within a transform property. Also, they can pass on the transform file name at the command line string at the time of installation process

Q: Within one vendor MSI, how many transforms can be created?
Within one vendor MSI, we can create n number of transforms. There is no restriction during the process

Q: Within a command line, how many transforms can be supplied?
There is no restriction in terms of how many transforms can be supplied at the command line. It is purely based on the need.

Q: Explain what is a custom action?
A custom action is a process where the user has their own idea of installation. Within this process, the developers actually write some executables to execute in a certain manner so the installation process can be completed in a customized manner.

Q: List out the different types of sequences in custom actions?
The following is a list of different type of sequences in custom actions:

1. Normal user interface
2. Normal execute immediately
3. Administrative user interface
4. Administrative execute immediately

Q: Explain the types of conditions in the Custom Actions?
They are three types of conditions in custom actions, they are as follows:

1. Not installed- During installation process only
2. Remove- This is used during un-installation process
3. Not Remove- This is used during both installation and Uninstallation

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Q: What is a launch condition?
A launch condition is a process where it checks the system requirements of the destination computer.


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