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Visual Studio Installer Quick Start

Visual Studio 6.0

This topic lists the basic steps involved in creating, configuring, and building a Microsoft® Windows® installer package (.msi) file with Microsoft® Visual Studio® Installer. These basic steps involve:

  • Authoring an .msi file to configure the product installation.

  • Launching an .msi file.

After you've completed these steps, you can find pointers to more detailed information in other Visual Studio Installer help topics.

To author and launch an .msi file with Visual Studio Installer, complete these tasks:

  1. Open Visual Studio Installer and create an installer project (.wip file) as part of a Visual Studio solution (.sln file).

  2. Configure the project properties.

  3. Add files to the installer project, and configure file properties.

  4. If desired, establish how to modify the target machine system registry when your product is installed, and configure registry properties.

  5. If desired, establish how the target machine operating system will handle your installed document types, MIME types, COM objects, and type libraries, and configure properties for each of these objects.

  6. If desired, control and customize the installation dialogs presented when your users run the .msi file to install, repair, or uninstall your product.

  7. Build the installer package (.msi) file.

  8. Launch the .msi file.

To open Visual Studio Installer

  1. Click Start, and select Programs.

  2. From the Programs menu, select Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0, and then select Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 Enterprise Tools.

  3. From the Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0 Enterprise Tools menu, click Visual Studio Installer.

    The Microsoft development environment launches, and you can create a new installer project from the New tab in the New Project dialog box.

    Note   You can also launch Visual Studio Installer simply by launching Microsoft® Visual J++® or Microsoft® Visual InterDev™. Launching these products also opens the Microsoft development environment.

  4. In the Microsoft development environment, click New Project on the File menu.

  5. Expand the Visual Studio node, and then click the Visual Studio Installer Projects node.

  6. Choose whether to create an empty installer project or a Microsoft® Visual Basic® installer project:
    • To create an empty installer project, double-click the Empty Installer icon.

    • To create a Visual Basic installer project, double-click the Visual Basic Installer icon and then complete the resulting dialog box.

    Visual Studio Installer creates your installer project. The Project Explorer displays your installer project hierarchy. You can expand the Target Machine node to start setting up the configuration of your installed product on the target machine.

For more detailed information about creating installer projects, see Creating and Opening Installer Projects.

To configure project properties

  1. Open the solution containing your Visual Studio Installer project.

  2. Select your installer project in the Project Explorer window.

  3. At the end of the Project menu, select the InstallerProjectName Properties option.

    The Project Properties dialog box appears. You can view or change the project properties in the Project Properties dialog box.

For information about the different project properties and how to modify them, see Project Properties Dialog Box.

To add files to an installer project

The File System editor in Visual Studio Installer gives you a way to configure your application files on the target machine while you add them to the installer project.

  1. Open the solution containing your Visual Studio Installer project.

  2. In the Project Explorer, expand the Target Machine node under your installer project.

  3. Double-click File System in the Target Machine node.

  4. In the File System editor, right-click the folder you want to add files to.

  5. Select Add File(s) from the context menu.

  6. In the Browse for Files dialog box, navigate to and select the files you want to add.

  7. Click Open.

    The File System editor displays the files you added in the folder you selected. The files are also listed in the installer project Files node in the Project Explorer.

See the following topics for more detailed information about working with files in an installer project.

For information about See
The Visual Studio Installer File System editor File System Editor
Adding files to an installer project Adding Files to an Installer Project
Adding, moving, or deleting different kinds of files in an installer project and managing the file structure of installer components Managing Components, Files, and Folders in an Installer Project
Setting file properties File Properties

To modify the target machine system registry

With the Visual Studio Installer Registry editor, you can specify registry values and keys in the target machine system.

  1. Open the solution containing your Visual Studio Installer project.

  2. In the Project Explorer, expand the Target Machine node under your installer project.

  3. Double-click Registry in the Target Machine node.

    The Registry editor appears.

See the following topics for more detailed information about manipulating the target machine registry.

For information about See
Adding and deleting registry keys and values, as well as setting registry values Manipulating the Target Machine Registry
The Visual Studio Installer Registry editor Registry Editor
Setting properties for registry entries Registry Properties

To establish document and MIME type and COM object associations

With the Visual Studio Installer Associations editor, you can specify how the target machine operating system will install and register your document types, MIME types, COM objects, and type libraries.

  1. Open the solution containing your Visual Studio Installer project.

  2. In the Project Explorer, expand the Target Machine node under your installer project.

  3. Double-click Associations in the Target Machine node.

    The Associations editor appears.

See the following topics for more detailed information about working in the Associations editor.

For information about See
Working with document types, extensions, verbs, MIME types, COM objects, and type libraries Setting File, MIME, COM Object, and Type Library Associations
The Visual Studio Installer Associations editor Associations Editor
Configuring properties for document types, file extensions, verbs, COM objects, and type libraries Visual Studio Installer Object Properties

To customize the installation run-time dialog boxes

With the Visual Studio Installer User Interface editor, you can customize the installation run-time display. Specifically, you can specify which dialogs to display to your user during the installation process, and you can customize some of the dialogs.

  1. Open the solution containing your Visual Studio Installer project.

  2. In the Project Explorer, expand the Target Machine node under your installer project.

  3. Double-click User Interface in the Target Machine node.

    The User Interface editor appears.

See the following topics for more detailed information about installation user interface dialogs.

For information about See
Available user interface dialogs Installation User Interface Dialogs
The Visual Studio Installer User Interface editor User Interface Editor
Adding dialogs to the installer project Adding Installation Dialogs
Deleting dialogs from the installer project Deleting Installation Dialogs
Customizing available dialogs Customizing Installation Dialogs
Working with dialog properties User Interface Dialog Properties

To build an installer package (.msi) file

After you configure all elements of an application's installation in your installer project (by specifying folder and file locations, file associations, registry actions, and so on), you must build the project into an installer package (.msi) file. You can then distribute the .msi file to users who want to install your application.

  1. Open the solution containing your Visual Studio Installer project.

  2. In the Project Explorer, select your installer project.

  3. Make sure the Build type project property (on the Build Tab of the Project Properties dialog box) is set to either:
  4. With the installer project selected in the Project Explorer, click the option to Build your project on the Build menu.

For more information, see Building an Installer Package (.msi) File.

To launch an installer package (.msi) file

For development and debugging purposes, the best way to launch your installer package (.msi) file is from within the Microsoft development environment.

  1. Open the solution containing your Visual Studio Installer project.

  2. In the Project Explorer window, right-click the installer project you want to launch.

  3. Select Launch Installer from the context menu.

For more information about these Windows installer requirements and launching an installer package file, see Launching an Installer Package File.

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