MICROSOFT SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT SERVER (SMS) Installer helps systems administrators automate application distribution. You can use this SMS program to consistently and efficiently deploy software packages to your users without having to install the software on each computer manually. (For information about SMS, see "Related Articles in Windows NT Magazine," page 62.)SMS Installer works the same way NT's Sysdiff works. First, SMS Installer takes a snapshot of the system. Then, it installs the software. Finally, it takes another snapshot and searches for differences between the two snapshots' directories and Registries. In SMS Installer's Installation Expert mode, SMS Installer compiles the differences into an executable (.exe) file, and you build an SMS job that applies the file to target systems. The Installation Expert mode is a graphical interface that lets you set up the package via a series of dialog boxes. SMS Installer's other mode is the Script Editor, which lets you build complete scripts or edit the scripts that SMS Installer builds. You must learn a new scripting language and spend time writing, testing, and debugging scripts to use this mode. Therefore, I don't recommend the Script Editor for everyday use. In situations in which SMS Installer isn't powerful enough, you need to purchase a third-party product such as Seagate Software's WinINSTALL 6.0. (For information about WinINSTALL, see Stephen Garwood's sidebar "WinINSTALL 6.0," page 60.) However, SMS Installer comes free with SMS, and the tool will probably suffice for your application-distribution needs. . . .
I quoted most of this article because of the annoying in-your-face advertisements.
I started down this road because I found out that Microsoft supports an ActiveX deployment through Active Directory, but you need to create msi packages for the ActiveX controls, not cab files. And here was the first site listed for comparing choices for creating MSI packages.