Installer for WinForm Application written in C# .net 2.

Posted on 2010-01-02
Last Modified: 2013-12-17
I am looking for help in finding an Installer for a WinForm Application (which is written in C# .net 2.0 - using Visual Studio 2008)
I have been looking and trying to evaluate for a couple of hours...  
I formally use SetupSpecialist way back when distributing my VS6 apps to customers. This is my 1st .net product.   Dot Net seems to be a whole new world ;-)
For one thing, I find that I have to see if the proper .net 2.0 distributable is installed on the user machine among other things...
Anyway...  I have looked at
(1) Wise Installer (a bit too expensive at ~ $1800.00US)
(2) Install Setup (also bit too expensive at ~ $1800.00US + ran into a few post about bad experences)
(3) Setup Factory (~$400.00US - afordable but need some feedback from users as to how well it might work for my needs)
    BTW - the same company that makes (3) Seyup Factory also makes MSI Factory - Not sure how that is different.
(4) Inno Setup - (Free but it looks like I would spend way more than $400 in time, setting everything up?)
(5) Visual Studio Installer - (not sure exactly what this does or how it does it by quickly reading the documentation)
(6) OneClick Deployment - Is this an installer or is Deployment something different?
I feel a but lost, even though I have distributed products created in VisualStudio 6, this .net world has been a new animal, and the installer seems to be the latest ??? I have run into.
Any help and advice would be GREATLY Appreciated!
I am not even really sure how to distribute points on this one, so I'll spread them around among the top 2 or 3 as to how much help each post is.
Question by:dannyhop
    LVL 18

    Accepted Solution

    For what I do, InnoSetup works for me.  We use InstallShield at work, and I don't enjoy working in it.  

    InnoSetup can be used without spending too much time.  There are several pre-written scripts available including one at that can be used to install / download the framework.  There is a "Quick Start Pack" for InnoSetup that includes an addon IDE that simplifies script generation.

    As for your other options, I've not used any of them.  I did use Visual Studio Installer a long time ago with VS 6 so I'm not sure if it's the same or not.  I think the difference between Setup Factory and MSI Factory is that Setup Factory does not create Windows Installer (MSI) based installs.  
    LVL 35

    Assisted Solution

    by:Miguel Oz
    I did some research before:
    1) Yes it is expensive and learning curve is quite steep.
    2) Never use it.
    3) Never use it.
    4) Quite flexible but learning curve is quite steep.
    5) Free, powerful for custom install with .net code, but limited regarding adding conditional UI, it does not allow direct script manipulation.
    6) Free, but very limited uswed for very simple apps that require automatic update.

    I will recommend Installaware, I use it at work and it is problably the easiest to learn and use, you can do your build script graphically as wel as have direct access to the script.
    LVL 8

    Assisted Solution

    I've used InstallShield Express in the past although not the 2010 version, and not with .net.

    Very simple to learn and use, deployments are generated quickly. At $599, seems like the sweet spot for price and ease.
    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

      I have used Dot net installer,an open source application which installs all pre is more enough simple installation.
    you can find the application at :
    and an article on this at :


    Author Comment

    Wow, I've been looking harder and am still further confused.  It seems like installers are like opinions, and everyone has one.  
    However, I noticed that Setup Factory ( has a brother installer (sells for the same price ~$400).  The other installer is called MSI Factory.  I can't tell from their literature, but I looks like MSI is the newer way to install Windows programs.  (since MSI Factory is Ver2.0 and Setup Factory is Ver 8.2, I must assume MSI Installer is the newer way to go) Has anyone ever used MSI Installer.  Does the MSI path sound right to others?  
    I just wish someone would invent an installer with a 'Do What I Mean' button ;-).
    Thanks for all your help, I'll keep looking for now...
    LVL 35

    Assisted Solution

    by:Miguel Oz
    All new installer products produce a msi installer file as they use Windows Installer 3.x that sits on your Windows OS.

    Installaware is the closest to "'Do What I Mean' approach.

    The way to select is that make a list of requirements a give the trials a go. The one that meets all your needs and you feel confortable with is the one to choose.


    Author Comment

    Hummm...   Does anybody have any experence with the InstallShield that comes bundeled with VS2010?
    The InstallShield 2010 Limited Edition is a free version of InstallShield for Visual Studio developers that replaces the functionality provided by the Visual Studio setup and deployment projects.
    Here are some highlights of the product:
    ·         Use Visual Studio to create installation projects for applications built with Visual Studio.
    ·         Build your installation projects with MSBuild
    ·         Jumpstart projects with a simple design environment and Project Assistant.
    ·         Take advantage of Installation Prerequisites and Custom Actions.
    ·         Digitally sign your installers.


    Author Closing Comment

    I think this is just too broad a topic and too amny variables.  Thanks for your help, folks.

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