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Walkthrough: Deploying a Visual C++ Application By Using a Setup Project

Describes how to use a setup project to deploy a Visual C++ application.

You need the following components to complete this walkthrough:

  • A computer with Visual Studio 2012 installed.

  • An additional computer that does not have the Visual C++ libraries.

To deploy an application by using a setup project

  1. Use the MFC Application Wizard to create a new Visual Studio solution. To find the wizard, from the New Project dialog box, expand the Visual C++ node, select MFC, select MFC Application, enter a name for the project, and then click OK.

  2. Change the active solution configuration to Release. From the Build menu, select Configuration Manger. From the Configuration Manager dialog box, select Release from the Active solution configuration drop-down box.

  3. Press F7 to build the application. Or, on the Build menu, click Build Solution. This enables the setup project to use the output of this MFC application project.

  4. If you haven’t already done so, download InstallShield Limited Edition (ISLE), which is free for Visual Studio developers and replaces the functionality of the project templates in Visual Studio for setup and deployment. When you are connected to the Internet, open the New Project dialog box by choosing File, New, Project on the menu bar, or by right-clicking your solution in Solution Explorer and choosing Add, New Project…. Expand the Other Project Types node, choose Enable InstallShield Limited Edition in the Setup and Deployment node, and follow the instructions that appear. Once you have downloaded, installed and activated InstallShield Limited Edition, close Visual Studio and re-open it.

  5. Open the New Project dialog box again, expand the Other Project Types node, and choose InstallShield Limited Edition Project in the InstallShield Limited Edition node.

  6. Follow instructions in the Getting Started node of the setup project created by the InstallShield Limited Edition template to add an output reference to your Visual Studio MFC project.

  7. Build the setup project to create the installer file (setup.exe). To do so, right click the setup project node in Solution Explorer and select Build.

    InstallShield Limited Edition creates the setup file in the setup project tree (by default, it may be located in the Express\SingleImage\DiskImages\DISK1 subfolder of the setup project).

  8. Run the setup program on a second computer that does not have the Visual C++ libraries.