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Visual Studio Setup (deployment) project

August 7, 2009 1 comment

Reading the Microsoft support article about using the Setup project in Visual Studio:

In order to create a Setup deployment project :

  1. Start a new project by doing one of the following:
    • On the File menu, point to New, and then click Project.

      -or-

    • If you have an project open that you would like to create a setup package for, right-click Solution MyProject (where the name of your project is MyProject) in the Solution Explorer, point to Add, and then click New Project.
  2. In the New Project dialog box, select Setup and Deployment Projects in the Project Type pane, and then select the type of setup that you want in the Templates pane.

    The project is added to the Solution Explorer, and then the File System Editor opens.

  3. In the Properties dialog box, select the ProductName property, and then type the name of your product.

And to add files to the Setup project:

  1. In the File System Editor, select the Application Folder node.
  2. Right-click the Application folder, and then on the Action menu, click Add, File. In the Add Files dialog box, browse to select any files that you need to add to your application.

    NOTE: If you already have an application project in your solution, you can add the project outputs by selecting Project Outputs instead of File.

  3. To add an existing merge module to your setup package (this is not possible for a Cab project), right-click the name of your setup package in the Solution Explorer. Click Add, and then click Merge Module. In the Add Modules dialog box, browse to select any merge modules that you need to add to your application.

To create a shortcut for the installed program:

  1. Open the File System Editor: from the View menu, point to Editor, and then click File System.
  2. Open the application folder that contains the file that you want to create a shortcut for.
  3. Right-click the file that you want to create a shortcut to.
  4. Click Create Shortcut.
  5. A shortcut will be created in the same folder as the original file.
  6. Drag the shortcut to the desired folder. For example, if you want to create a shortcut in your Program menu, drag the shortcut to the Programs menu folder; if you want to create a shortcut on the Start menu, drag the shortcut to the Start menu folder. The folder location of the shortcut can also be changed through the folder field of the Properties Window.

To register COM objects as part of the installation:

  • Add a COM object to your Visual Studio deployment project.
  • In the Solution Explorer, right-click the module that you just added, and then click Properties.

    NOTE: The Properties window contains a table with two columns and x number of rows (the number of rows depends on the project). The left column lists the specific properties. The right column is explained in step 4.

  • Go to Properties for this module (located by default in the upper-right corner of the .NET Deployment project), and then click Registry property.

    NOTE: The Registry property specifies whether a file, assembly, or project output group should be registered on a target computer during installation.

  • There is a list box in the right column of the Registry property, which displays several options for you to choose from. Note the following details for an explanation of these options:
    • For assembly, registration is not normally required, and therefore the default is DoNotRegister (this means that the item will not be registered during the installation).
    • For a COM module, you have the options of COM, COMRelativePath, and COMSelfReg. Any one of those three options will register the COM module during the installation.

      Note the following details about each choice:

    • COM: The module will be registered as a COM object by the Windows Installer engine. The deployment project will update the Class table, ProgID table, and other tables in the Registry Tables group of the corresponding .msi file. This is the recommended way to register a COM module.
    • COMRelativePath: The module will be registered as an isolated COM object by the Windows Installer engine. Note that this module will be used only by the application that the module is installed with.
    • COMSelfReg: The installer calls the DllRegisterServer function of that module at the time that you install the module and the DllUnregisterServer function at the time that you uninstall the module. The deployment project will update the SelfReg table of the corresponding .msi file. It is not recommended that the installation package use self-registration. Instead, the installation package should register modules by authoring one or more of the other tables provided by the installer for this purpose (that is, select the COM or COMRelativePath options). Many of the benefits of having a central installer service are lost with self-registration, because self-registration routines tend to hide critical configuration information.

    Referemces:

    1. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307353
    2. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307358
    3. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/307367
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