Friday, October 11, 2013

Visual Studio Deployment Project : Make Single Executable Installer using WinRAR

I wrote a while back of making a single executable installer for Visual Deployment Project (which output two file : setup.exe and setup.msi).  It was done using IExpress that comes with Windows installation itself. However, it feels quite outdated now. Even the page that I refer to in that post is no longer works :). It require some scripting and the use of IExpress is not exactly intuitive nor friendly.

So, comes more straightforward solution using WinRar. I stumbled upon this post on stackoverflow. It basically intend to do the same thing using self-extracthing-archive feature in WinRar. It works much better and more maintainable. It does not require external scripting and you can add logo, title, description for the bootstrapper. I find the resulting installer looks cleaner to run with helpful info/logo.

You can checkout the post above for some description and screenshot (hopefully stackoverflow link is more long-lasting). In summary, the steps are :

  • create New Archive
  • set to SFX mode
  • go to advanced tab
  • click SFX options button
  • customize things to your needs
The rest is about experimenting until you got the setting that suits your needs. After that,  you can save the setting (Tab General -> "Save current settings as default") and later when you create self-extracting-archive it will be done according to your last setup.

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