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Deployment Alternatives

In addition to the deployment tools included in Visual Studio, there are several alternative methods of deployment. In most cases, the deployment tools provide more robust installation; however, for some simple cases the alternative methods may be adequate. For more information, see Windows Installer Deployment Overview.

For Web projects, the Copy Project command is available on the Project menu. Copying a project, rather than deploying it, is the simpler way to move your project's content to a target Web server. Copying does not automatically configure Internet Information Services (IIS) directory settings. Therefore, we recommend deploying your project in most cases, because it allows you to take advantage of extensive deployment project management features, such as registration and IIS configuration.

By default, the Copy Project command creates a new Web application on the target server and copies only the files required to run to the application. Note that FrontPage Server Extensions must be installed on the target server to use the Copy Project command. These are the typical steps for copying a project to a server:

  1. On the Project menu, choose Copy Project.

  2. Select the destination project folder.

  3. Select the Web access method.

  4. Select the files to be copied.

    The default option deploys only the files needed to run the application. Alternatively, you can deploy all project files or all files in the project folder.

The Windows Xcopy command is a simple way to copy a project or application from one location to another. For all but the simplest cases, we recommend that you deploy your project rather than using Xcopy. As with the Copy Project command, Xcopy does not register or verify the location of assemblies, and for Web projects it does not automatically configure IIS directory settings. More importantly, using Xcopy to deploy an application will not take advantage of Windows Installer features, making it possible to overwrite files that could cause other applications to break.

To see the command-line syntax and options for the Xcopy command, type Xcopy /? in a command-prompt window.

In addition to the deployment tools included in Visual Studio, installation tools that support Windows Installer may be available from third-party vendors; these tools may support additional Windows Installer features that are not supported by Visual Studio deployment.

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