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How to: Install Prerequisites in Windows Installer Deployment 

Most applications have prerequisites: Components such as the .NET Framework runtime must be available on a target computer in order for the application to run. The deployment tools in Visual Studio include the capability to automatically detect the existence of components during installation and install a predetermined set of prerequisites — a process known as bootstrapping.

For Windows Installer deployment, bootstrapping of the .NET Framework is enabled by default. You can disable bootstrapping for the .NET Framework, but you should only do so if you are sure that the correct version of the Framework is already installed on all target computers or if your application does not require the Framework.

NoteNote

For localized applications, a .NET Framework Language pack will also be bootstrapped if the Localization property of the deployment project is set to a locale other than "English (United States)."

Additional components should be bootstrapped only if your application has a dependency on them.

By default, bootstrapped components are deployed from the component vendor's website. Other alternatives to a component vendor's Web site are:

  • Installing the components from the same location the application is installed from (which could be file share, local disk, or UNC file share).

  • Installing from a specified local path, URL, or file-share location.

NoteNote

The following procedures are for Windows Installer deployment. To install prerequisites with a ClickOnce application, see How to: Install Prerequisites with a ClickOnce Application.

NoteNote

The dialog boxes and menu commands you see might differ from those described in Help depending on your active settings or edition. To change your settings, choose Import and Export Settings on the Tools menu. For more information, see Visual Studio Settings.

To choose which prerequisites to install

  1. In Solution Explorer, select the deployment project.

  2. On the Project menu, click Properties.

  3. In the Property Pages dialog box, expand the Configuration Properties node, and then select the Build property page.

  4. Click the Prerequisites button.

  5. In the Prerequisites dialog box, make sure that the Create setup program to install prerequisite components box is checked.

  6. In the Choose which prerequisites to install list, check the prerequisites that you wish to install, and then click OK.

To specify the download location for prerequisites

  1. In Solution Explorer, select the deployment project.

  2. On the Project menu, click Properties.

  3. In the Property Pages dialog box, expand the Configuration Properties node, and then select the Build property page.

  4. Click the Prerequisites button.

  5. In the Prerequisites dialog box, choose a location:

    • If you want to deploy the installers for the prerequisites to a vendor, click Download prerequisites from the component vendor's web site.

    • If you want to deploy the installers for the prerequisites to the same location as your application installer, click Download prerequisites from the same location as my application.

    • If you want to deploy the installers for the prerequisites to a different location, click Download prerequisites from the following location and enter a local path, URL, or file-share location.

      NoteNote

      You must make sure that the installers for the prerequisites have been copied to the specified location with a subfolder for each prerequisite.

      NoteNote

      The Installation URL in the Property Pages dialog box specifies the URL of a server or Web site from which the application and/or prerequisites will be installed. See Build, Configuration Properties, Deployment Project Properties Dialog Box for information on how Windows Installer uses this URL.

  6. Click OK to continue.

To disable bootstrapping

  1. In Solution Explorer, select the deployment project.

  2. On the Project menu, click Properties.

  3. In the Property Pages dialog box, expand the Configuration Properties node, and then select the Build property page.

  4. Click the Prerequisites button.

  5. In the Prerequisites dialog box, clear the Create setup program to install prerequisite components check box, and then click OK.

    NoteNote

    If you disable bootstrapping, the application will still be installed but might not run if the prerequisites are not already installed. For Windows Installer deployment, you can include launch conditions to check for prerequisites and stop installation if the prerequisites are not found. For more information, see Launch Condition Management in Deployment.

See Also

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