The following article uses options that are available starting with the Freeware edition and project type.
This tutorial will guide you step by step through the creation of a simple Advanced Installer project from scratch and building it in order to obtain an MSI package. It is addressed to those who have no previous experience in using the Advanced Installer application.
Let's suppose that you want to create a package to install a simple text file, a story you wrote. Choose an already existing text file on your local disk or create one by using the “New > Text Document” right-click context menu in Windows Explorer. Name the file story.txt. Open it in your favorite text editor and type a couple of lines to give it some content.
- 1. Create project
- 2. Add files
- 3. Build and install
- 4. Remove installed file
- 5. Edit product and company names
- 6. Create shortcuts
- 7. Change product version
If Advanced Installer is not currently running, start it by double-clicking on the desktop icon or by selecting it from the “Start > All Programs > Advanced Installer” menu. When the application starts, you will be presented a dialog where you can choose the type of the project you want to create.
- Select the “Simple” type.
- Uncheck the “Use wizard...” option.
- Press the button.
The new project has been created and from now on you will edit it.
Save the project by using the story.aip for this example.toolbar button and choose the file name and the destination folder. This will also be the folder where your MSI package will be created. Give it an appropriate name,
A common mistake made by developers new to Advanced Installer is creating a project then copying it and using the copy as a base for a new project. This is wrong, it leads to duplicate ProductCode and UpgradeCode. The article on Product Identification explains why this is wrong in the "Copying your project files" section.
The most important step in creating an MSI package is adding a file or folder.
Switch to the “Files and Folders” page by selecting it in the left-side panel. The folders which interest you most are “Application Folder” and “Application Shortcut Folder”.
In Application Folder you can add the files and folders used by your application, this folder representing the installation folder. In Application Shortcut Folder you can add shortcuts to your application, to a help file or to an URL, this folder representing a folder in the “Start > All Programs” menu of the Windows taskbar. You can read more about these folders in the Install Parameters page.
Click on the story.txt file.toolbar button, browse to your project's folder and select the
Now that you have added a file to your project let's build the MSI package.
Click on thetoolbar button and a “Build Project” dialog will appear showing you the build evolution.
Once the build is complete, click on thetoolbar button. A setup wizard will appear that will guide you through the install process of the “story.txt” file.
Congratulations! You have created your first Advanced Installer MSI package. By default, the story.txt file will be installed in C:\Program Files\Your Company\Your Application. Browse to that folder in Windows Explorer to check.
You can remove the installed file either from the “Add/Remove Programs” pane in the Control Panel or you can have it removed from within the Advanced Installer application itself. Simply press thebutton again without modifying anything and the Setup wizard will appear. Select in the second screen and wait until the uninstall process is complete.
If you change anything in the project, pressing will cause a different package to be generated. The only way to uninstall the old one will then be from the “Add/Remove Programs” pane in Control Panel.
Of course, “Your Company” and “Your Application” aren't too expressive names for the story you are trying to distribute. Let's change them.
Switch to the “Product Details” page by selecting it in the left-side panel and edit them to better values.
Build and Run the package again to check the results. Don't forget to uninstall afterwards.
Installing in the Programs Files location is not of much use if we don't create shortcuts to the installed file. We will create two: one in the “Start” menu and another one on the computer desktop.
Start by switching back to the “Files and Folders” page.
Select the story.txt file by clicking on it, then click on the toolbar button. The “New Shortcut” dialog will appear, allowing you to customize the new shortcut.
Change the shortcut name to “Long Story” and click Application Shortcut Folder. That means that this shortcut will be installed in the “Start > All Programs > Product Name” menu of the Target Computer.. The new shortcut will be added in the
To also create a shortcut that will be installed on the Target Computer's desktop, select the Desktop folder in the “Folders” tree and click the button. A file picker dialog will pop up, allowing you to select the target file of this new shortcut.
Select story.txt and press . Press again in the “New Shortcut” dialog, after you've changed the shortcut name to “Long Story”. The new shortcut will be added to the “Desktop” folder.
Build and Run again to check the results, uninstall when you're done.
In time, you may want to release a new version of the story. Maybe you want to fix some issues discovered in the first release. Nothing easier with Advanced Installer.
First, open the story.txt file your favorite text editor and add a couple of lines to it, so that we have an actual file change.
Then switch to the “Product Details” page by selecting it in the left-side panel. Edit the “Product Version” field to “2.0.0”.
When building, saving or selecting another page, you will be asked to generate a new Product Code. Answer “Yes” if you want the new package to automatically upgrade the previous version of the story, if found on the target computer. If you answer “No”, the two versions will be prevented from being installed simultaneously on the same computer.
This concludes our tutorial. To learn more, please read the Professional Installation tutorial.
Below there is link to a short video with the steps enumerated above.