Have Visual Studio Express and need to create an MSI?

Have Visual Studio Express and need to create an MSI?

A fellow developer messaged me with a simple question: My visual studio does not have a 'Package and Deployment' project type, what can I do? If you have Visual Studio 2008 Express, you will not have the project template required to create an MSI installer. If you wish to create an MSI using Visual Studio Professional you can simply Download The 90-day Trial Version Here. This will allow you to follow the instructions in This Blog Post on creating an MSI for your project. Best of luck.
9 posts / 0 new
Last post
For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.

Nice article Brain. It is very easy to understand the process from your post.

Visual studio professional Trial Edition is a temporary solution and also I remember that the license agreement says that Trail Editions should not be used for production use. I think software or MSI developed with Trial Edition may violate license agreement when used for commercial purposes. I am not an expert regarding license agreements but I think it is better to review that option more carefully.

Alternately when we don't have professional edition, WiX utility is another option. WiX utility that is part of Window platform SDK which is a free download from Microsoft. Once Window SDK is installed, WiX is available as an MSI for installation when we want to use. Windows SDK also has GUID generator.

WiX project is basically a XML file. To start with, we can create the xml file based on the sample that is available from the WiX documentation. It is very easy to modify the XML file. It takes about 30 minutes to create the first WiX project. Use the Wix executable files from command line to generate msi file. For subsequent projects, you may modify the GUIDs and names of the files which typically takes about 5 to 10 minutes and we are ready with the new MSI file.

Windows SDK also has Orca tool to examine the MSI files in case of any trouble.

Thank you for further details. WiX is a great alternative choice.

"I think software or MSI developed with Trial Edition may violate license agreement when used for commercial purposes"

Thankfully, this statement is incorrect. Having dealt with Microsoft directly, any compiled code created using a trial version is fully redistributable. Here is a link with a reply from a Microsoft representative verifying this fact (there are many more scattered across the internet; Microsoft Connect, MVP blogs, etc).


Furthermore, the trial version is easily upgradable to a fully licensed version without having to re-install.

Thank you for the clarification. I am sure this information will be very useful for lot of us here.

No problem, that is a great part of the ATOM Community; the diversity. We have developers representing different methodologies, experience, and environments. You may wan to consider creating a write up on using WiX as an alternative to Package and Deployment projects.

Need to make .msi files? There are plenty of tools available to create Installation/Setup programs. My tool of choice is Advanced Installer by a company called Caphyon. You can find it at http://www.advancedinstaller.com. The free version is ample for simple, profesional projects. The licensing fees are quite reasonable, as well. It's incredibly easy to use and makes installation files of all kinds for files of all kinds. It is definately worth looking into. Make sure you double check the EULA. I am not responsible for anyone's mistakes - other than my own. :-) Best wishes, all.


Thanks CCK. Advanced Installer is a create alternative. I know several developers have used it here, and passed validation.

Having seen a couple of threads like this one I tried to put the information about building and packaging Windows projects in two posts:

Building: http://appdeveloper.intel.com/en-us/blog/2011/09/22/what-are-my-options-building-c-windows-app-appup
Packaging: http://appdeveloper.intel.com/en-us/blog/2011/09/22/what-are-my-options-packaging-windows-native-app-appup

Hope this helps.

Just a quick update: You can upgrade the Visual Studio Trial to full version without having to uninstall and re-install.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to add a comment. Not a member? Join today