Create a Custom Installer Using Powershell

We run a program called QATRAX which doesn’t come as a MSI file for installing it.  The program has many sins: one of them being that it can only be installed to C:\program files\traxstar (it’s a x86 program) and it has to have write access to this folder.  Attempts to use a re-packager to convert this to a MSI file have failed, because all repackagers detect it should really go in C:\program files (x86), but of course that won’t work.

The program was made in the 1990s, so figuring out what files it copies to to system is quite easy.  You can use a tracing utility such as Process Monitor to watch for install changes.

# copy qatrax support files
copy-item *.dll C:\windows\syswow64 -Force

We could add registry entries using Powershell code line-by-line, but doing a registry export to a REG file and then import it is far easier in my opinion.

# import qatrax registry settings
regedit /s qatrax.reg

One thing to note is that we need to create an uninstall string manually so it shows up in Programs and Features as being installed.  This will also report back to WMI that the program is really installed to help with software inventory.  You should be able to get this from a system with the software already installed.

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\QATrax]
@=""
"DisplayName"="QATrax"
"UninstallString"="C:\\Program Files\\TraxStar\\uninstall.exe TRAXSTAR"

The program also has no native way of switching between dev and prod environments, so I wrote another wrapper that overwrites the values in the registry with certain IP addresses depending on which environment the user wants to be in.

# set everyone full-control to traxstar registry key. this is a hack to allow
# switching between dev and prod environments
$acl = Get-Acl 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\TraxStar Technologies LLC'
$rule = New-Object System.Security.AccessControl.RegistryAccessRule ("Everyone","FullControl","Allow")
$acl.SetAccessRule($rule)
$acl |Set-Acl -Path 'HKLM:\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\TraxStar Technologies LLC'

Make a folder in C:\program files

# create install folder (and yes, traxstar has to be in the x64 folder even though it's
# x86 or it will break
mkdir "C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient"

Grant everyone rights to write to this folder

# qatrax requires write access to its own folder
icacls 'C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient' /grant:r everyone:f

Copy files to C:\program files

# copy qatrax files to program install folder
copy-item qatrax.exe "C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient"
copy-item traxlaunch.exe "C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient"
copy-item uninstall.exe "C:\program files\traxstar"
copy-item *.log "C:\program files\traxstar\traxclient"

Build out the start menu

# create start menu items
mkdir "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\QATrax"
icacls *.lnk /grant:r everyone:RX
copy-item *.lnk "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\QATrax"

  • Soli Deo Gloria

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