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I need to give a software package (set of folders ) as a installer on windows. Is it possible to create a installer so that the files are copied automatically and it should also run the standard exe files .

Let me know how to go about it.

Regards, Mithun

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This seems like it might belong on stackoverflow, but 2 popular free solutions are:
Inno Setup
NSIS

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My personal favorite is AdvancedInstaller. Great piece of software and free too!

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+1, We've moved to using MSI for all our software packages. The free (beer) version of AI covers nearly all the features we need. Even the Professional license is reasonably priced. –  jscott Feb 7 '10 at 12:01

If it's just a set of folders, and running a file at the end (that is, no registering DLLs, no adding keys to the registry, no conditional installation) you can actually get away with an archiving software like WinRAR or WinZip.

One of the last packages I developed called for a set of files to be deployed to the user's machine, an executable to run and then all files removed right after execution. WinRAR allowed us to create a single EXE file, that, uppon execution, unpacked all files to the temp directory, ran the exe and deleted all the files right after the app was closed. And it also allowed us to configure the file's icon, so it looked like a genuine application.
The final nice touch is that the end users do not need WinRAR (or WinZip) installed on their machine to use our file. In fact, they are not even aware of the fact it's a WinRAR archive.

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For something as simple as a xcopy/regedit "install" I'd recommend building an MSI. Registration with Windows Installer DB greatly eases software inventory, upgrade paths, etc. –  jscott Feb 7 '10 at 12:04
    
I disagree. Having worked with MSI and MSI-based installations before, it's anything but simple. Too many things can go wrong, missing, or replaced. Use MSI for complex installations. For copy-based installations, use an archive/packaging software. –  Traveling Tech Guy Feb 7 '10 at 20:33

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