Adding Windows Installer Redistributables to Projects

InstallShield 2012 Spring

Project: This information applies to the following project types:

Basic MSI
InstallScript
InstallScript MSI

Although the Windows Installer is built into most versions of Windows, a Windows Installer–based installation may depend on certain functionality that is available in only the latest versions of Windows Installer. In addition, some InstallScript installations may require a particular version of Windows Installer.

InstallShield enables you to include a redistributable for Windows Installer in your project. The method for adding a Windows Installer redistributable to your project depends on the project type that you are using, as well as the version of Windows Installer that your installation requires.

For a list of the minimum operating system requirements for each version of Windows Installer, see Target System Requirements. For a list of which versions of Windows Installer were released with which versions of Windows, see Released Versions of Windows Installer in the Windows Installer Help Library.

Note that Windows Installer 5 and Windows Installer 4 are not available as redistributables.

Basic MSI and InstallScript MSI Projects

InstallShield gives you the option of including with your installation a Windows Installer redistributable in a self-extracting executable file called Setup.exe.

Windows Installer Distribution

By default, InstallShield creates a Setup.exe setup launcher along with your installation package. The setup launcher is required if you want your installation to install the Windows Installer engine.

If you want to include the Windows Installer redistributable in a Basic MSI or InstallScript MSI project, do one of the following:

For Windows Installer 4.5—Add one or more Microsoft Windows Installer prerequisites to your project. InstallShield includes several versions that target different versions of Windows. For more information, see Including Microsoft Windows Installer Prerequisites.
For Windows Installer 3.1, 3.0, or 2.0—The Setup.exe tab for a release in the Releases view is where you specify information such as whether you want to use a Setup.exe launcher, whether you want to include one of these versions of the Windows Installer redistributable, and which version of Windows Installer you want to include. To learn more, see Setup.exe Tab for a Release.

As an alternative, you can add one or more Microsoft Windows Installer prerequisites to your project. For more information, see Including Microsoft Windows Installer Prerequisites.

Tip: You can also specify setup launcher requirements in the Setup Launcher panel of the Release Wizard.

Overview of the Installation Process

At run time, Setup.exe determines if Windows Installer is already installed on the target system. If the Windows Installer is found on the target system and it meets the minimum version requirement, it launches your installation package. If Windows Installer is not installed, or a more recent version needs to be installed, Setup.exe installs Windows Installer and then launches your installation package. Note that the system may need to be restarted for Windows Installer to be updated.

InstallScript Projects

In some cases, you may want to add a Windows Installer redistributable to an InstallScript project. For example, you may be using an InstallScript project to chain together multiple Windows Installer–based installations that require a particular minimum version of Windows Installer. In addition, if you add a merge module to an InstallScript project, that merge module must be added as a subitem of the Merge Module Holder object in the Objects view. This Merge Module Holder object requires the Windows Installer engine, so if target systems may not have the Windows Installer present, you need to add the Windows Installer redistributable to your InstallScript project.

If you want to include the Windows Installer redistributable in an InstallScript project, add one or more Microsoft Windows Installer prerequisites to your project. InstallShield includes several versions that target different versions of Windows. For more information, see Including Microsoft Windows Installer Prerequisites.

See Also