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Deploying Native Desktop Applications (Visual C++)

Deployment is the process by which you distribute a finished application or component to be installed on other computers. Deployment planning starts when an application is created on a developer's computer. Deployment ends when the application is installed and ready to run on a user's computer.

Visual Studio provides different technologies for deploying Windows applications. These include ClickOnce deployment and Windows Installer deployment.

  • ClickOnce can be used to deploy C++ applications that target the common language runtime (CLR)—mixed, pure, and verifiable assemblies. Although you can use Windows Installer to deploy a managed application, we recommend that you use ClickOnce because it takes advantage of .NET Framework security features such as manifest signing. ClickOnce does not support deployment of native C++ applications. For more information, see ClickOnce Deployment for Visual C++ Applications.

  • Windows Installer technology can be used to deploy either native C++ applications or C++ applications that target the CLR.

For a comparison of ClickOnce and Windows Installer deployment, see Choosing a Deployment Strategy.

The articles in this section of the documentation discuss how to ensure that a native Visual C++ application runs on any computer that provides a supported target platform, which files you must include in an installation package, and the recommended ways to redistribute the components that your application depends on.

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